Manu Dibango – Soul Makossa (1972) {African Mix}

Manu Dibango
“Soul Makossa” 1972

This pressing – MusiDisc, France, 331442

1. Soul Makossa
2. Lily
3. Dangwa “Three Points”
4. O Boso
5. New Bell “Hard Pulsation”
6. Nights in Zeralda
7. Hibiscus

This is the original mix of the famous “Soul Makossa” album from Manu Dibango, loaned to me by a dear friend who tells me this was mix used for the African market, with the drums and percussion mixed higher than the version released in Europe during the 1970s. The huge single from this album (released before the LP) launched Dibango’s international career and spawned many cover versions around the world. Although the tray card lists a 1969 copyright, I can’t find any information on the interwebs (which are all-knowing and wise) to back that up, so I am listing it here under its more common release date which was 1972. I could be persuaded otherwise. But the style of production does seem more like early-70s to me — a lot was changing in the studio-world during this time, and 69 seems too early for a lot of the material on this record. The second cut, “Lily” could easily have been produced in ’69, so perhaps some of this record was assembled from tracks recorded at different times. Anyone with detailed information please leave a comment. There have been a number of different pressings on vinyl and CD, some of which have as many as 13 tracks on them, so its all very confusing. Although it lacks specific information on this title, there is a very nice discography of Manu Dibango over at the lovely Soundological Investigations blog.

———————————story of “The Song”——————————————-
“Soul Makossa” is a 1972 single by Cameroonian makossa saxophonist Manu Dibango. It is often cited as one of the first disco records.[2] In 1972 David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and often played it at his Loft parties.[3] The response was so positive that the few copies of “Soul Makossa” in New York City were quickly bought up.[3] The song was subsequently played heavily by Frankie Crocker, who DJed at WBLS, then New York’s most popular black radio station.[3] Since the original was now unfindable, at least 23 groups quickly released cover versions to capitalize on the demand for the record.[3] Atlantic eventually licensed the song from the French record label Fiesta.[3] Their release of it peaked at #35 on the Billboard chart in 1973; in 1999 Dave Marsh wrote that it was “the only African record by an African” to crack the top 40.[4] At one point there were nine different versions of the song in the Billboard chart.[5] It became “a massive hit” internationally as well.[5]

“Soul Makossa” was originally recorded as a B-side for “Mouvement Ewondo,” a song about Cameroon’s association football team.[5]

It is probably best remembered for the chanted vocal refrain “Mama-ko, mama-sa, ma-ka-ma-ko-ssa”, which was also used in Michael Jackson’s 1982 “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” (albeit in a different key with a not-so-monophonic melody) during the song’s final bridge. It is also sampled in the hip hop song “Face Off” by artist Jay-Z on his album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 as well as the single “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna. The song is also sampled on the intro to The Carnival, Wyclef Jean’s first solo album. The phrase “ma ma say ah, ma ma coo sah” also appears in the fourth verse of the song “Rhythm (Devoted to the Art of Moving Butts)” by A Tribe Called Quest, and in “Mama Say,” the debut single by the Bloodhound Gang. “Makossa” means “(I) dance” in Duala, a Cameroonian language.[6]
————————————
Credits

* Arranged by Manu Dibango
* Written by Manu Dibango
* Bass by Long Manfred
* Drums by Joby Jobs
* Electric guitar by Manu Rodanet
* Percussion by Freddy Mars
* Piano by Georges Arvanitas, Patrice Galas
* Acoustic guitar by Pierre Zogo
References

1. ^ Manu Dibango discography on Discogs.com
2. ^ The History of Rock Music – The Seventies
3. ^ a b c d e Shapiro, Peter. Turn the Beat Around: the Secret History of Disco. New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 2005., 35.
4. ^ Marsh, Dave. “The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made”. Da Capo Press, 1999., 548
5. ^ a b c Broughton, Simon; Mark Ellingham (2000). World Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 441.
6. ^ TRANS Nr. 13: George Echu (Yaounde): Multilingualism as a Resource: the Lexical Appropriation of Cameroon Indigenous Languages by English and French
7. ^ Billboard Pop Charts Allmusic.com
8. ^ R&B Billboard. Allmusic.com.

Includes full artwork in 600 dpi as TIF, m3u, log, cue, and a tasty yam dish in honor of Mother Africa.

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