Mumbai born, but now Californian resident Aki Kumar loves his harmonica. His debut album Aki Goes To Bollywood is all parts kinda country, with a bit of rockabilly, but mostly its all about his love for the blues. His follow-up album from 2018 Hindi Man Blues keeps the theme going, but he slightly musically branches out with this one. Some rhythmic hints at more of a 60s reggae influence on Jaane Kahaan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji, there’s a cover of Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man, as well as covers of Bollywood songs, with even some added female vocals. and even some lonesome cowboy vibes on Yeh Shaam Mastaani.
Lets talk about this single. Limited to 300 copies. 100 each of gold, translucent & black. Its a cover of Asha Bhosle (pictured left) & R.D. Burman‘s track from the soundtrack of the 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. You might recognise the backing vocal refrain as it was one of the songs that epitomised the hippie generation. Aki has turned it into a thunderous uptempo funk monster. The musicianship is astounding. Particularly from Danish drummer Alex Petterson’s relentless backbeat. Clocks in around 136bpm, so it’s a peaktime floor killer. The flip is Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo, which is a fuzzy downtempo cover from the 1966 film Teesri Kasam.
Check out the original version from the film. Its a delicious vision of classic counter culture during the hippie era. With westerners & Indians getting truly enlightened by some herbal medications. It’s magnetic.