LATIN BEAT MAGAZINE (June/July 2004 - Volume 14, Number 5)
SPELLBOUND SAMPLER: ¡Assorted Spanglish Favorites!
With four recordings under its belt, the LA-based Tropical funk band has issued a new CD, the "Spellbound Sampler: ¡Assorted Spanglish Favorites!," in commemoration of the recent proliferation of Spanglish musical acts worldwide. Led by multi-instrumentalist Paul Thomas and vocalist Bobby Moon, the Spellbound saga came into existence in 1996 with a self-titled CD, which generated the West Coast hit song "Good Company" for the band. This new sampler embraces the music and sounds of the band from their earliest recognized works through their most recent production "Tropicalifornia," released in 2003. A collection of all their best-known grooves, the CD also contains the track "Fiesta Privada" (previously only available on mp3)and a special live version of the Tito Puente classic composition "Oye Como Vá." Newcomers to Spellbound will appreciate the eight year retrospective of the band in one disc and faithful fans will enjoy the collection of favorite tracks. The CD is specially priced on Spellbound's own long-running Selfish Recordings label. - RM
HERENCIA LATINA (Edición de Agosto/Septiembre de 2004)
Reseñas de Discos - Spellbound "Sampler: ¡Assorted Spanglish Favorites!" (Selfish Recordings)
Paul Thomas y Bobby Moon son los promotores número uno de sus trabajos. Con cuatro producciones a su haber, estos enérgeticos y emprendedores músicos decidieron hacer una recopilación de los mejores temas de las mismas. El resultado es el CD de "muestras variadas" de sus canciones, las cuales denominan "spanglish,"
en honor a la manera de hablar en California, en donde el español y el inglés se juntan indiscriminadamente.
La música de Spellbound tiene como único objetivo alegrar al que la escucha. No es salsa agresiva, o simplemente la salsa como la conocemos. Ellos le dan su sabor californiano - "el sonido de Los Angeles," lo llaman.., en donde mezclan salsa, funk, pop, rock, jazz, y todo lo que se puedan imaginar. Para este propósito, utilizan algunos de los mejores músicos en el área angelina. El resultado es inofensivo y agradable. El CD cuenta con 12 temas, sacados de los álbumes "Funqueros," "Tropicalifornia," - mi favorito.., "Respete el Pasado," y "Spellbound." Además, incluyen el número "Oye Como Va," grabado en vivo en el Hollywood Bowl en 2002. Esta pieza no se encuentra en ninguna de las grabaciones anteriores de este grupo.
Si usted tiene apetito para algo diferente, con un sabor tropical, pero relajado y divertido a su manera, a lo mejor va a querer escuchar a Spellbound. Eso sí, prepárese una piña colada antes de disfrutarlo. - Por Eric González
Boulevard Sentinel (July 2004 - VOLUME VIII/ ISSUE 3)
Miss Mindy's Record Reviews :
The Los Angeles music scene is brimming with talented instrumentalists, eclectic musicians and has evolved into a virtual melting pot of musical cultures and styles. Considering L.A.'s focus on entertainment and the wide spectrum of diversity in people and music, I can say that I have merely scratched the surface of what has to be one of the most musically rich demographics on the West Coast. Having said this, I was excited at the opportunity to discover something new.
When "the Spellbound Sampler: !Assorted Spanglish Favorites!" ended up in my hands, I must admit that I had mixed feelings... I diligently pressed on, only to find the CD offered some surprisingly delectable music. Proving once again that you should never judge a book (or a CD) by its cover.
Located in L.A., Spellbound has captured the flavors of our community and joyfully serve us up heaping portions of steaming salsa-infused melodies. A self described "tropical funk" band, who also consider themselves to be somewhat groundbreaking in the spanglish music scene, formed in the early 90's. They've released four previous albums, though before listening to this compilation I had yet to hear of them. The band consists of multi- instrumentalist Paul Thomas, vocalist Bobby Moon and a rotating cast of guest musicians and vocalists who add a certain spiciness to a duo that already packs a good amount of heat.
With hot Latin tracks immersed in everything from rock to disco to electro, Spellbound definitely has something for everyone. Songs like "El Tropico", "?Quien Llamo Pa Rumba?" and "Fiesta Privada" (some of the most impressive tracks on the album) revel in the simple, sweet complexity of traditional salsa and Latin music. "Fiesta Privada" (which translates into "Private Party") was, in fact, a private party considering that until now it's only been available on mp3. They add variety and expand their range with "The Crown", "Let's Get Away" and "Don't Care Anymore" dousing 80's style R&B, disco and funk into the groove. Like a musical time machine, "Let's Get Away" transports you to a sweaty 70's disco club (very Studio 54). If that weren't enough, psychedelic rock'n'roll and Santana- style guitar solos infiltrate "Love is a Wonderful Thing" and "Love Sweet Love." You can just about envision the guitar strings happily dancing around, sprinkling you with their audible fairy dust. It's all followed up with a live cover of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va", making this CD an absolute party in a box. The beats and rhythms on this compilation inspire your body to move almost instantly. Not to mention that its listening appeal easily crosses over from work to the car to your home. It's addictive.
"The Spellbound Sampler: !Assorted Spanglish Favorites!" was a pleasure to listen to (over and over again). The musical skill of all the instrumentalists on this CD are simply amazing and refreshing to experience. Some songs being so incredibly catchy that you find yourself singing along. The song writing, though I can only understand the English lyrics, is great…
On the whole, Spellbound has impressed upon me the seriousness in which they orchestrate their music, the heart and soul they put into their songs and the advantages of turning off commercialized, mainstream music and experiencing the less trodden path of local musical acts who have yet to "hit it big." Spellbound has definitely gained a new fan.
Try one for yourself:
"The Spellbound Sampler" (04)
"Respete El Pasado/Respect the Past" (01)
or go to www.geocities.com/selfishrecordings
SPELLBOUND SAMPLER: "¡ASSORTED SPANGLISH FAVORITES!" Favorite Songs From Spellbound (1996-2004)
1) "EL TROPICO" (4:51)
Features L.A. salsa maestro Johnny Polanco who comments," This song's got a hell of a hook!" Could be the reason it continues to make #1 on MP3.com's Tropical charts.
(FROM the CD "FUNQUEROS" /SRCD-4) ©1999
"...this disc is a jewel of magnanimous proportions. And once you hear salsa maestro Johnny Polanco playing the Cuban tres guitar, you'll be shakin' a mean groove. Addictive would be the best adjective to describe Funqueros. One track will have you going on a nice Santana-like guitar and psychedlic boogie, while the next you'd swear Bernie Worrell is sitting in on keyboards. Co-founders Bobby Moon and Paul Thomas seem to be fluent in every form of dance music on the planet and use-and-abuse many of them on this disc. Some of the best tracks on Funqueros are the ones featuring Peruvian vocalist Charo Salinas and the sultry diva Sonora. In the same way that legendary house producers Masters at Work teamed up India and Jocelyn Brown to great effect on their Nu Yorican album, Moon and Thomas use the women to create an air of mystery and allure. the results are almost always perfect, and I find it difficult to uncover my customary one fault with this album. If I were asked to pick the weakest part of Funqueros, I'd simply say,"I haven't found it yet." I highly recommend this to fans of Santana, P-Funk, Tito Puente or Cafe Tacuba. But if you ask me, I like Spellbound more." - Sean Michael Yoder / CAMPUS CIRCLE (Sep. 1999/Vol.9/Issue14)
2) "QUIEN LLAMO' PA' RUMBA?" (5:08)
Made several playlists in 2002 & 2003 on college & Latin genre stations. "I remember walking into the session late & Johnny Polanco with Artie Webb had begun working on this track", recalls Bobby. "What resulted is a beautiful prelude created by those guys."
(FROM the CD "TROPICALIFORNIA" /SRCD-6) ©2002
"Spellbound's latest is aptly titled, as it showcases the rich and diverse culture that can only be found in California. The Latin / funk owns a feel good attitude that leaves you tapping right along with the rhythm. As a testament to the band's uniqueness, songs are sung in both English and Spanish, sung by one Bobby Moon - a Korean American. Not bad, huh?"- Kham Lam / YOLK MAGAZINE (2002-Volume 9 / Number 5)
3) "THE CROWN" (3:33)
A favorite & on regular rotation in the summer of 1999 on 89.9fm KCRW's Cafe LA (A show hosted by author & World musicologist Tom Schnabel) & features Sonora in her Spellbound debut.
(FROM the CD "FUNQUEROS" /SRCD-4) ©1998
"Spellbound is a Los Angeles-based outfit that has been recording since 1990. Funqueros, released in 1999, is its first to receive national distribution. The band's music is funk-based rock with heaps of Latin-influenced rhythms. There's a polished feel to many of the group's songs with the opening "Tune You Up" and the jazz-rocking "Siente" as the most immediately impressive. Several cuts offer sophisticated R&B and feature guest vocalist Sonora,
while the whole disc has a joyous dance groove to it." - Mick Skidmore / RELIX (Feb. 00/Vol.27,#1)
4) "LET'S GETAWAY" (4:00)
Features sax legend Plas Johnson, who was honored with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the L.A. Jazz Society on Oct. 2003. In 2002, when asked how he felt about Spellbound, he replied, "I love the band.the recording quality, the package & the juice."
(FROM the CD "RESPETE EL PASADO/RESPECT THE PAST" /SRCD-5) ©2001
"Here was a really fun band, fronted by musicians who really knew music and knew how to play and produce. And, to my deilight there was plenty of clave, funk, and nice Latin grooves in the mix. So, here's Spellbound's long awaited new album Respete El Pasado (Respect The Past). There are guest performances by flutist Artie Webb and other fine musicians including Plas Johnson & Johnny Polanco, some great tunes, and lots of good dancing. I think they're a terrific outfit with a bright future. Put the new CD into your sound system and see if you don't agree." - Tom Schnabel (Cafe L.A./KCRW 89.9fm)
5) "(LOVE IS A) WONDERFUL THING" (5:11)
Features Question Mark from the Mysterians, a legendary rock group who penned "96 Tears." The song is considered the best rock song ever written by CNN. Met Q & the band when they were in town to play a show & became friends. He wanted to comment on the theme of this song & was able to express & record it via telephone.
(FROM the CD "RESPETE EL PASADO/RESPECT THE PAST" / SRCD-5) ©2001
"Spellbound is led by Paul Thomas and Bobby Moon, producers and composers of all the selections with Moon handling most of the lead vocals, minor percussions and some synthesizers. Thomas is the musical boy wonder handling the main duties on keyboard, Hammond B-3 organ, programming, guitar, talk box and background vocals...Reminiscent of David Byrne's Rey Momo days is the selection Wonderful Thing, which also features a cameo by singer Question Mark on a telephone voice.The music and style of Spellbound is the sound brewed daily throughout the urban streets of Los Angeles...Respect The Past is a refreshing alternative to post-mainstream urban music." -Rudy Mangual / LATIN BEAT MAGAZINE (May 2001-Vol.11/No.4)
6) "FIESTA PRIVADA" (4:29)
A track from the "Respete El Pasado" sessions that didn't make it on to the CD & featuring Charo. This track was available on MP3.com for a short time & even received a rave review from an online publication (see below). Available for the first time on CD.
"As a reviewer, I'm always up for a challenge. I like to review tracks in styles that I'm not completely immersed in, and I think it can be to an artist's benefit to get an outsider's perspective occasionally. With this in mind, I was delighted to find Spellbound's "Fiesta Privada" waiting in the review queue. The opening of this track caught me completely off guard...From here on out, this track is pure heaven. Charo Salinas's exquisite and delicate singing is wonderful (although, since I don't speak Spanish, I will refrain from giving the lyrics a numerical rating), and is perfectly complimented by a brilliant (albiet conventional) salsa arrangement. The percussion playing is exquisite - subtle but grooving. The recording quality is excellent, and it's clear that considerable attention has been paid to sonic detail...the more I listen to it, the more I want to lounge by some large body of water with a frilly girl-drink. I urge you all to break out the silly umbrellas, listen to this track, and meet me by the pool." - VAN DER ROHE / GODS OF MUSIC (Review of the exclusive MP3 only single"FIESTA PRIVADA" - JUNE,2001)
7) "VOY A CANTAR" (4:18)
A tribute to the late great bandleader Mario Bauza. "VOY A CANTAR / I'M GOING TO SING" made #12 on Miami's WDNA 88.9fm
(FROM the CD "RESPETE EL PASADO/RESPECT THE PAST" /SRCD-5)
"Ahora, Spellbound Recordings (sic) y Spellbound unen nuevamente su talento para presentarnos "Respete El Pasado / Respect The Past", un homanaje original de los artistas que han influenciado a Spellbound en su pasado musical: Les Baxter, Mario Bauzá, Jerry Garcia, Jimmy Hendrix, Beny Moré, Tito Puente, Elvis Presley y John Lennon, por soló mencionar a algunos. Los temas fueron grabados en cerca de 50 sesiones con muchos de los más importantes músicos de ambas costas, entre ellos Matthew Jensen, Artie Webb, Johnny Polanco, Bartel Diks y Sonora. De los 10 cortes, no se pierdan las pegajosas "Suave" y "Yo Puedo Vivir Así", ambas con Charo Salinas en vocales y "Up and Down", un sexapiloso "funk" recomendado para hacer bailar hasta a los que no tienen ritmo." -Pepe Marquez / VISTA USA (Marzo de 2001/Vol. VII No.66)
8) "AY, QUE RICO ES" (3:09)
"AY, QUE RICO ES / HOW RICH IT IS" hit #1 more then a few times throughout 1999 & 2000 on MP3.com's Tropical Charts.
(FROM the CD "FUNQUEROS" /SRCD-4)
"Describing Spellbound's music as infectious would be a bit like describing the Mississippi River as a creek. L.A.'s masters of dance, Funk, and Latin rhythms make music with more bite than Salsa-doused jalapenos." - Kali H./LISTEN.COM (Review - March '00)
"Addictive latin funk featuring solid songs, psychedelic boogie, and more. Take a trip through the world of dance music." -MUGBONE.com (Review of"Funqueros" - Feb. 2001)
9) "DON'T CARE ANYMORE" (3:22)
Sonora is featured on this Salsoul-style groover with a Brazillian twist. She reflects," I really love the lyrics to this song. It came at a time when I really needed it."
(FROM the CD "TROPICALIFORNIA" /SRCD-6) © 2002
"Spellbound was formed in the early 1990's by two Los Angeles musicians sharing a common love of funk, Latin, psychedelic, and electronic music. Paul Thomas and Bobby Moon wee early purveyors of electronic dance music in L.A.,performing with various line-ups since their formative years...2002 also brought the release of their current CD Tropicalifornia, and ain't that the truth, which follows their successful formula, but has been refined and mastered for our benefit."-el Sabor de Nuestra Musica / LATIN STYLE MAGAZINE (2002-Issue No.46)
10) "GOOD COMPANY" (4:02)
From Spellbound's out-of-print 1996 debut & still a live audience favorite. "Good Company" was featured on L.A.'s 101.9 f.m.'s"Local Band Showcase," hosted by Mimi Chen, later that same year. Released in MP3 format in 2000, it reached #3 on the MP3.com's Tropical chart.
(FROM the CD "SPELLBOUND" /SRCD-3) ©1996
"While some might consider it impossible to carve out new territory in the Latin music genre, Spellbound, in their self-titled CD, has manages to do just that. Mixing jazz,Latin rhythms and funk (yes, funk), Spellbound has a unique concoction that reminded me a bit of some of Steely Dan's work in the '70's." - Garrison Frost / The Beach Reporter (Aug. 1997-Vol.21/No.29)
11) "LOVE SWEET LOVE" (4:13)
This version is from an interview on 90.7 fm KPFK's "Canto Tropical" show hosted by Hector Resendez & Kathy Dias.
(FROM the CD "TROPICALIFORNIA" /SRCD-6) © 2002
"El titulo de este álbum lo dice todo. La carátula también. Y es que de eso se trata, precisamente, esta grabación: de la influencia "tropical", específicamente los ritmos afrocubanos, en ese estado de la unión norteamericana llamado California. En "Tropicalifornia", el grupo Spellbound adecuadamente capturó parte de la diversidad musical que caracteriza al llamado estado dorado."Tropicalifonia" no pretende ser un disco de "salsa" o una joya de la música afrocubana. Es un disco divertido, diferente, y especial, que representa muy bien la diversidad cultural y musical de California. Y eso es suficiente para mí." - Eric Gonzales / OASIS SALSERO.com (Dec. 2002)
12) "OYE COMO VA" (4:00)
©Tito Puente (Full Keel Music Co./ASCAP)
Live from the "African Hearts & Latin Soul Festival" at the HOLLYWOOD BOWL in July 2002 Hosted by Tom Schnabel (KCRW 89.9fm). Our tribute to the late, great Tito Puente.
"One of the summer's most anticipated concert events took place on Sunday, July 7, 2002, at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the Bowl's World Music Summer Series. The event titled African Heart/Latin Soul, celebrated the global grooves of masters Hugh Masekela and Eddie Palmieri. Opening the event was the New York based Cuban/pop group Yerba Buena and L.A.'s own Ozomatli, featuring vibrant and eclectic multi-ethnic sounds. Both Masekela and Palmieri's individual sets were very short, with the highlight of the event climaxing with a special collaboration by both masters on several tunes closing the evening. The local group Spellbound played the pre-event concert hosted by Tom Schnabel (Hollywood Bowl's director of World Music and KCRW radio personality) showcasing their unique sounds to a hefty crowd of early concertgoers." - QUE PASA EN L.A. / LATIN BEAT MAGAZINE September 2002 [Vol.12/No.6]