Zamrock is a truly rare creature: funky, brash, noisy, danceable, with an insouciant attitude and definite proggy overtones in the fuzz guitars. It’s also rare in that you can’t find the original records. Among the most sought-after is the work of Witch, a Zambian band that sang in English and made a pile of intriguing albums between 1972 and 1977, which are reissued here.
Their music was influenced by Western rock – Baby Come On, from 1972’s Introduction, sounds like early Pretty Things with a funky drummer and David Johansen singing; their first two albums are appealingly raw 70s rock with a slight British beat hangover. 1975’s Lazy Bones! found them deeper in psych-prog territory with the moody Black Tears, the fuzz boogie of Motherless Child, and the wild Tooth Factory, which sounds like a US 60s garage band but better. The following year’s Lukombo Vibes added extra groove but went further in the direction of Jethro Tull circa Benefit, a bizarre mixture that somehow works. The following year’s Including Janet (Hit Single) seems more soukous, but there are still complex chord changes and amazing guitar riffs.
A band that brewed its own musical potion, Witch made truly progressive rock that ought to have been heard in the 70s. Let’s rectify that in 2012.