RELIX (Vol.27/No.1) February 2000
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
LISTEN.COM (March 2000)
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 then Salsa-doused alapeños. - Kali H.
MUGBONE.COM (Februrary 2001)
Addictive latin funk featuring solid songs, psychedelic boogie, and more. Take a trip through the world of dance music.
PERU NEWS REVIEW (Año 10 - Vol.12 / Diciembre 1999)
" Paul Thomas y Bobby Moon, del grupo Spellbound han creado un CD que tiene ritmo y calidad, para alegrarse. El conjunto esta formado por Johnny Polanco, Tommy O, Matthew Jensen y Sonora."
"La peruanita Charito Salinas es vocalista del Spellbound. A la derecha, portada artística del CD con palmeras que parece estuvieran bailando."
Spellbound de la disquera Selfish en la misma ciudad, han puesto en ciculación el nuevo CD del grupo
multicultural "Los Funquueros," incluyendo ritmos Afro-Caribeño con el Salsa master Johnny Polanco, el vocalista Bobby Moon, el co-founder Paul Thomas y la peruana Charo Salinas también como vocalista. Sus presentaciones están causando sensación eb diferentes centros nocturnos y se les augura un gran futuro. Para mayor informaciónes pueden llmar al e-mail: email@example.com - Talentos Latinos
LATIN BEAT MAGAZINE (November 1999 - Vol.9 / No.9)
Spellbound "Funqueros" (Selfish Recordings)
This self-produced second CD release from Los Angeles-based band Spellbound goes by the title of "Funqueros," (a Spanglish word defined by the two leaders of the band, Bobby Moon and Paul Thomas, as "funquero\fun-'ke-ro\n 1: one of a class of persons displaying the qualities of both a funkster and a salsero."
Through a total of ten original selections, Spellbound displays the colors of urban dance favorites like funk, soul, rock, and house, blended with rainbows full of tropical Afro-Caribbean rhythms and their derivatives: Latin jazz, the boogaloo, Latin hustle, salsoul, and Latin soul among others. Dance music from the srteets of Los Angeles' multi-cultural population best describes the music of Spellbound. Its keen urban piquancy makes them the right dance band for any city in this world. The band features commendable vocals from Sonora, Bobby Moon, and new comer Charo Salinas, as well as, creditable work from Paul Thomas on guitars, sequencing, and keyboards. LA salsa band leader and multi- instrumentalist Johnny Paolanco is a guest musician featuring his tres guitar on the tracks "El Tropico" and "Just In Time." - RM
CD Liner Notes:
...Roll back to fall, 1998.
SPELLBOUND was putting the finishing touches on our new album, "Funqueros", a disc which Bobby moon & I, (SPELLBOUND's founding songwriters/performers) had struggled for well over a year to finish - recording and mixing as money permitted. the plan was to put it out a small quantity of the disc on our own, then squeeze it into local stores and onto any radio stations we could. the rest would be sold at shows or used for promotion. We were no strangers to this approach, and had been moderately successful with our previous, self-titled CD in 1996, so off we went…….Not quite! Like cosmic messengers, in came a few exceptional spirits to change our destiny, and their word was thus: “Have patience my sons, and your CD will be done right-with cool packaging, primo distribution, and the works.” Knowing the staggering amount of work we faced in doing it all ourselves again, we gratefully accepted the offer and got down to the nitty gritty stuff – which brings us to…
SPELLBOUND’s “Funqueros’ has finally made it to you, and we’ve survived…basic tracks and percussion in the summer heat…tedious vocal sessions…horns, then more horns…revolving saxophones…colds & herbal remedies…subtracted songs/added songs…rapido guitar sessions…spiritual crisis…too much coffee/not enough coffee…shoestring budgets…bruised egos & trips...musicians with attitudes…chemical-induced lunacy…band mutiny…salsa dance lessons…equipment glitches…paranoia…impossible punch-ins…Valley flakes…and far too many tapes! (Did I mention a whole lot of fun, too?!!)
…Of the songs that made the final cut on this CD, the opener, Tune You Up hits you straight off with the Funk – “I was listening to a lot of Sly & Parliament at the time,” Bobby Moon recalls. “We had performed this one live a few times already, and the audience response was always positive.” Siente (Spanish for “feel”) is the next track off the album, tempering the Funk with Latin overtones, and debuts our sultry Peruvian vocalist Charo Salinas. The Crown features L.A.’s Sonora. Bobby says of the words ”the lyrics are about achievement - ‘got to work to do my very best/ to win the prize/ to get the crown.’ Sonora heard it, loved it, and asked me if she could sing it. Johnny Malone came up with his vocal hook for the outro on the 11th hour – literally – while we were mixing the tune; so we added his vocal & the song really clicked, for me anyway.” Sonora’s up again on I’ve Got This to Say, with her sweet vocals over hard swinging Funk. Bobby stretches out for the next track, El Tropico writing the lyrics and singing in Spanish for the first time. The song is basically a happy, lyrical tribute to tropical music & dance styles we like – Guajira, Guaguanco, La Rumba, Son-Montuno. Salsa maestro (and padrino) Johnny Polanco is featured here playing the distinctive and beautiful tres – a guitar-like instrument prominent in Cuban music. World Alive was actually written over a year ago, and in ensuing live performances has always received an enthusiastic response, for reasons not totally understood by us. At this point we wouldn’t dare leave it off the disc, so here it is. After that, we go into a special style of music which I affectionately refer to as “accidental rumba.” It’s Ay, Que Rico Es! With English lyrics, a Spanish chorus, and me playing acoustic guitar. Go on, sing along – you’ll feel better! The Spanish sabor continues, as I switch to keyboards on Just in Time with Charo doing harmonies. She recalls: “This was my first time singing in English, and I was really nervous, but it turned out to be a pretty easy part, and everyone was very supportive. “During the middle of the tune that’s me playing Matthew’s classic old Fender Rhodes piano, and the outro features a smokin’ Johnny Polanco tres solo. Time’s Up is a slow-burning groover that finds us back in funk territory. “Paul’s guitar solo is so funky on this song, it reminds me of the great Albert King”, says Bobby who is playing the funky organ on this track. We leave you with a final dose of pure psychedelic funk. It’s our instrumental, Keep Doin’ Your Own Thing – which is what I bid you until next time…Paul Thomas, SPELLBOUND, 1999