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African Music Machine

The African Music Machine was an eight-piece funk outfit from New Orleans led by bassist/songwriter Louis Villery. They got their start as a house band for the Jewel/Paula label axis, playing on records by the likes of Fontella Bass, Little Johnny Taylor, Roscoe Robinson, Ted Taylor, Tommie Young, and singer/producer Bobby Patterson, among others. From 1972-1974, they cut several of their own singles for the Patterson-owned Soul Power subsidiary. Most of their work was done in a heavy, James Brown vein, sometimes with a bit of Creole influence mixed in. Their original 45s -- including "Black Water Gold," "Tropical," and "The Dapp" -- later became highly prized items among funk collectors, fetching outlandish prices; a compilation of singles, also titled Black Water Gold, was reissued in 2000. In 2001, Villery assembled a new version of the African Music Machine and released an eponymous album on Singular. ~ Steve Huey
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