Monday, May 23, 2011

Heroes of The Hammond: Alan Hawkshaw and The Mohawks

THE MOHAWKS-Pepsi/Mony Mony U.K. Pama PM 757 1969

Forget all of those dumb-ass stories you've heard over the past two decades:

The Mohawks were NOT a band comprised of white British skinheads.
The Mohawks were NOT a  band of Jamaican studio musicians.

The Mohawks WERE the brainchild of U.K. session organist supreme Alan Hawkshaw who concocted a studio only group featuring a host of U.K. "library" music session musicians to create a slew of funky, organ based instrumentals.  Since no major labels were willing to release this relatively obscure product Hawkshaw licensed the tracks through a small U.K. based label called Pama who were primarily a reggae label.  The rest is history.  Their records were always in demand among so called "skinhead reggae" collector's because of the Pama imprint though I'm still at odds to determine how their groovy organ sound fit along with the likes of Alton Ellis, The Crystalites or The Ethiopians!  Rediscovered in the mid 90's their records found fame amongst collectors of funky U.K. studio/library music as well as fans of funk and break beats (which drove the price of their records even higher).  All of these genres have rendered nearly all of their records, especially U.K. pressings like this one, rather expensive.

"Pepsi" is driven along by some congas, guitar, bass and drums before the Hammond blows in creating a funky groove, with Hawkshaw as usual showing he is the master of the instrument. "Mony Mony", a cover of the hit by Tommy James & The Shondells follows pretty much the same formula through Hawkshaw really lets it rip with his organ trills on this one and there's a bit of female backing vocalists who sing "Mony Mony" during the refrain whilst Alan and Co. do their thing.  The track gets even better when the horns start kicking in making the track a full on Hammond and horns explosion!

Both tracks are available on the excellent Vampi Soul legit CD reissue of The Mohawk's LP "The Champ" .

Hear "Pepsi":

Hear "Mony Mony":

1 comment:

Smashingbird said...

Love me a bit of Hawkshaw!