Origin of the track
Epps was a percussion player from the USA. His 1959 single release “Bongo Rock” was a #14 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in America the same year. That was his biggest hit. More tracks, nearly all with the word ‘Bongo’ in the title, were released but they were less succesful. To name a few: “Bongo Bongo Bongo”, “Hully Gully Bongo”, “Bongo Shuffle”, “Bongo In The Congo”, “Blue Bongo”, “Bongola”, “Bongo Hop”, “Bongo Boogie” and “Mr. Bongos”.
Viner was manager at MGM Records in the early seventies. He started a project called The Incredible Bongo Band, also know as Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band, in 1972. He did that with the purpose to add music to a soundtrack for a B-movie called ‘The Thing With Two Heads’. The plan was to play mainly instrumental Funk music with the focus on the beat. Using bongo’s and conga’s played by artists that were on-hand during down-time of MGM recording studio facilities. The title track on first album ‘Bongo Rock’ from 1973 was a version of Preston Epps original.
Listen to a short compilation of the two versions. Preston Epps, The Incredible Bongo Band
Vinyl: Preston Epps – Bongo Rock e.p 1987, US reissue (self printed sleeve) / Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock ’73, 2016 Mr. Bongo UK repress / Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock album, original German 1973 press
Herc developed his unique DJ style using the drum intro’s and breaks from tracks as that was the part that the people specifically danced to. Using two turn tables, like the Disco-DJ’s did in those days, to play the breaks from the same as well as from different records straight after each other. Herc called that his ‘Merry Go Round’ technique. Hip Hop pioneer Kool Herc mentions The Incredible Bongo Band – “Bongo Rock” as one of the key breaks he used for his routine.
In Netherlands The Incredible Bongo Band – “Bongo Rock” was used as an intro to a radioshow called ‘Gouden Uren’, made by the TROS organisation. That show was on the air from 1987 until december 2014.