Soul Music From Hanna Barbera? WTF?
February 13, 2011
If I told you that the famous American cartoon concern, Hanna Barbera, the folks that brought you Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, and The Flintstones (among dozens of other Saturday morning TV fare) had their own record label, you would be correct to assume that it featured kiddie records that exploited parents by inducing the knee-jerk demands of their childdren to buy them a record that had their favorite cartoon character on the cover.
But what if I told you that, in the short-lived history of Hanna Barbera Records (HBR), they were also responsible for producing some of the more obscure and collectable garage rock, soul, and psychedelic rock LPs of the 1960s? As WFMU’s Beware of The Blog has noted in an amazing post about HBR, “HBR’s obscure garage rock oddities are one of the reasons the label attracts plenty of attention from record collectors and nerds.”
So call me a nerd record collector. All I know is that I found a cool thrift store HBR LP last weekend and had no idea what to expect:
Turns out that these Dynatones, some white boys from West Virginia, can lay down some pretty funky instrumentals. Their particular shtick on this LP is to use a fife to add a sort of jazzy backdrop to some Booker T. And The Mgs-sounding soul. The title track, Fife Piper, blew up to become a big hit with the kids, especially with the kids over in Britain.
Why Britain? Well, the Dynatones, like dozens of other American soul groups of the 60s, were adopted by the British “Northern Soul” movement. The latter featured all sorts of crazy attributes in terms of clothes, dances, clubs, scooters and, most important, music.
If you’ve never heard of the Northern Soul movement, the Wiki entry for the topic is a good place to start:
And here, for your listening pleasure, is the Dynatones hit, “Fife Piper,” along with some vintage moving images of some British Northern Soul kids doing their thing. Still amazed at how that kid does that bounce-up dance move; WTF?
Here is a better-sounding, audio-only version: