Negrito is back! So soon on the heels of the Grammy slaying Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? a rich new single deep in groove, blues and P.Funk vibes is rolling around this bank holiday weekend like we have nothing to do but barbecue and dance about with sunburn. Of course I’m not in a sun drenched park or an urban parking lot with a sound system. It’s been three days of solid rain and English Tea. But still. This is a JAM!
You know I love this sort of thing. I’m all about classic rock sounds, a bit of a blues lick and I am increasingly getting my head turned by the retro revivalist crowds making old timey music with new ideas. In recent months we’ve featured Pokey LaFarge, Nathaniel Ratecliff and The Night Sweats, Iraina Mancini, Black Pumas, Durand Jones. Fanta may not be pretending the war is still on but he is definitely mixing his old vibes with new ideas. Joe Bonamassa this ain’t.
Root City rolls along like it’s on caterpillar tracks. There’s a fuzzy three note intro before the Panzer attack beat marches forward driving huge “Woah Ohh” backing vocals. That chorus of wails take on a hypnotic quality very early in the track. The Spectorised wall of sound only stops for the main man to vocalise.
Since becoming such a fan of Fanta’s music I’ve started to read more and more about him. He was once signed to a major label in a mega deal with Prince’s old manager. His stage name back them was Xavier. The debut calling card album was called The X-Factor (It’s almost as if the Iron Maiden Blaze Bailey years never… Do you ever have Deja-Vu?, I can check with the kitchen). There was a tragic turn of events. Xavier was in a terrible car accident. He was left in a coma for three weeks. When he came through Interscope had cut him loose. Xavier (the stage persona) was dead. The crash survivor (real name Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz) become Fantastic Negrito. Fanta has four albums to his new name. Three of them Grammy Winners. He is undeniably touched by the gift of grooviness.
The Last Days Of Oakland followed a self titled debut album in 2016 and won him his first Grammy a year later. Please Don’t Be Dead followed in 2018. In 2020 the trilogy of winners was crowned with the album that featured How Long? Searching For Captain Save A Ho and Chocolate Samurai. This new tune sounds like it slid right out of the sessions for that 202 record.
There are squawkbox vocal effects. fuzzy synth effects, twanging guitars and Baby Goats in the video. Fantas awesome blues growl is on full rabble rouser mode as he incites passion can do spirit in a lyric all about brinigng it and being your best. Apparently this track is an anthem for a sports stadium. Oakland Sports Stadium at that. That explains the lyrics. the whole
“Always remember that *Robot voice* We Are From The Town”
I know nothing about sports (we’ve covered this) and I know even less about which sports get played in Oakland Stadium. But in Rural Hertfordshire on May Bank Holiday Weekend. We’re feeling pretty ruddy Roots City!