VA – Nigerian Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79 (2008)

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While not as compelling as the 2-disc “Nigeria Special” collection, this is a righteous set of songs in its own right. There are actually some weaker cuts on this one, especially for those whose tastes run like Clint Striker who said “I’m not really into all that wah-wah guitar stuff.” Maybe the problem is that the collection kicks off with its strongest cut, “Take Your Soul” (1976) from The Sahara All Stars of Jos.” The momentum of the rest of the album just never quite reaches those heights again. Tracks like the seriously-flanged “Lagos City” (1976) from Asiko Rock Group, and the closer, Afro-beatish “Love Affair” (1976) by SJOB Movement, keep the stew simmering. “Greetings” (1978) from Joni Hastruup — which manages to be both the most melodic cut here and also one of the funkiest, with some tight riffing on sax, flute, and Rhodes that match Joni’s stident voice. — keep it interesting in between some of the more monochromatic jams here. It’s probably my favorite track on this compilation. The sound quality varies between the tracks here, no doubt due to most if not all of these tracks being sourced from vinyl, but if you are seeking stuff like this out then you probably won’t care much about that. If this doesn’t quite reach the same level as Soundway’s other Nigerian compilations, its only because they set such a high benchmark with them.

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From CD Universe
Nigerian music is known for its polyglot character, a fact that is exemplified by its native juju and highlife–a perfect storm of indigenous music traditions bolstered by Western technology. Lesser-known are Nigerian attempts to adopt Western trends wholesale, as with the exquisitely rare disco and funk groups compiled for NIGERIA DISCO FUNK SPECIAL: THE SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND LAGOS DANCEFLOOR 1974-1979. Taking obvious cues from stateside horn-driven funk ensembles like B.T. Express, Ohio Players and the J.B.’s, the propulsive dancefloor beats are punctuated by horn blasts and the scratchy, repetitive insistence of rhythm guitars–a sound with distinctive echoes of the ringing melodicism of highlife guitar sections. Highlights on this funky slice of Afro-disco include: Asikos’s “Lagos City,” an energetic blast of African brass, and Dr. Adolf Ahanotu’s “Ijere,” a slick, overdriven funk number done in a distinctly Nigerian style.

Nigerian musicians adopt ’70s funk and disco in this collection of rarities.Uncut (p.103) – 4 stars out of 5 — “The Afrobeat thunder is still strong on NIGERIA DISCO FUNK SPECIAL….T-Fire could be the Lagos branch of Clinton’s P-Funk family.”

Track Listing

1. Take Your Soul – The Sahara All Stars
2. Will of the People – T-Fire
3. Lagos City – Asiko Rock Group
4. Greetings – Johnny Haastrup
5. You’ve Gotta Help Yourself – The Groovies/Bongos Ikwue
6. Some More – Jay U Experience
7. Mota Ginya – Voices of Darkness
8. Ijere – Dr. Adolf Aonotu
9. Love Affair – S-Job Movement

 in 320kbs

 in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO FORMAT

Manu Dibango – Africadelic (1975) 320 kbs

Manu Dibango
Released 1973
This pressing 2006, Hi Fly Reocrds

1 The Panther 2:29
2 Soul Fiesta 2:08
3 Africadelic 2:16
4 African Battle 3:00
5 Black Beauty 2:50
6 African Carnaval 3:16
7 Moving Waves 4:03
8 Afro-Soul 2:44
9 Oriental Sunset 1:47
10 Monkey Beat 2:42
11 Wa-Wa 3:03
12 Percussion Storm 1:54

AFRICADELIC is the classic 1973 album composed and recorded in the span of one week by Manu Dibango, after the encouraging success of his monster hit “Soul Mokossa.” Here he continues to fuse Afro-Caribbean flavors with the contemporary Latin … Full Descriptionand funk influences of the day, resulting in a highly soulful, highly danceable album.

DUSTY GROOVE says

Incredibly funky work from Manu Dibango — a set that’s easily as great as his classic Soul Makossa album — but which is a lot more obscure overall! The work’s got a fiercely-jamming quality all the way through — lots of rumbling percussion at the bottom, and also a bit of keyboards as well — served up in a heady brew that turns out to be a perfect setting for Dibango’s sharp-edged reeds! The record’s got a few especially great break tracks, but all numbers are pretty darn great too — filled with more funky changes, flaring horns, and 70s-styled grooves than you might ever hope to find in a single album! Tracks include “Black Beauty”, “Soul Fiesta”, “The Panther”, “Africadelic”, “Moving Waves”, “Afro Soul”, “Wa Wa”, “Percussion Storm”, “Monkey Beat”, and “Oriental Sunset”.

It might be an attempt to quickly cash in on the success of Soul Makossa, but it’s still an amazing record from start to finish. Enjoy!

Check out the very very nice Manu Dibango Discography over at Soundological Investigations!

Gilberto Gil – Refavela (1977) 320kbs

Gilberto Gil
Refavela (1977)
320 kbs

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This is a highly underrated album, a result of Gil’s trip to Lagos with Caetano Veloso. Caetano recorded “Bicho”, also a classic, but this record holds its own against it any day. In my opinion, this is the last of Gil’s records that you can truly call a “classic.” It’s groundbreaking stuff that presages “world music” but the production values here are still nice, warm, and analog (no Peter Gabriel “Real World studios” sounding stuff here!).

Contains complete artwork!!

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Review by Philip Jandovský

Unlike his friend and fellow Brazilian musical legend, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, through the years, has had a strong tendency to follow the temporary shifts in styles and trends that occur within popular music. Because of this the music of Gil usually has sounded very up to date when it was released, but often his recordings haven’t at all aged as gracefully as the timeless music of Caetano Veloso. The tracks on many of the albums of Gilberto Gil have also been of very uneven quality. Refavela is clearly one of the exceptions to this rule. Heavily inspired by traditional African and Afro-Brazilian sounds and rhythms, the songs on this album have aged very well indeed. The title of the album, Refavela, of course, refers to the slum quarters found in the large Brazilian cities, which are called favelas. Among the more famous songs on this album are the beautiful title track, “Refavela,” the funky “Babá Alapalá,” and the Afro-Brazilian rhythmic “Patuscada de Gandhi” and “Ilê Ayê.” There is also a cover of Tom Jobim’s “Samba do Avião.” Refavela is, without doubt, one of the most consistent and probably the best of all albums recorded by Gilberto Gil.

Hugh Masekela – The Chisa Years (2006)


Hugh Masekela
THE CHISA YEARS (Rare and Unreleased)
2006 BBE Records

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Review by Thom Jurek

Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine met in 1961 at the Manhattan School of Music. They became friends, roommates, and collaborators. They began experimenting with putting together groups of African singers, studio musicians, and a fusion of South African township jive and urban gospel. The two started the CHISA label together in 1966 just before the pair scored big with Masekela’s smash, “Grazin’ in the Grass.” After the success of that track, they put more money into their label, and scored a distribution deal with Motown. The 14 sides here, on Chisa Years: 1965-1975 (Rare and Unreleased) are little known or forgotten tracks from the CHISA years. It’s true that the Crusaders recorded for CHISA in this period, but there are no tracks by them on this set — though most of the band appear here in one form or another. None of Masekela’s hits are here either. And it’s just as well. What is collected on this disc is a vibrant slew of cuts recorded by the pair. First there’s the smoking “Afro Beat Blues,” by Masekela and his band Ojah, who hailed from places like Nigeria and Ghana, that had been recruited during a successful African tour in 1973. The players had been introduced by Fela Kuti in Lagos. Other cuts here include the stunning “Mahalela,” “U Se Mcani,” “Macongo,” and “Melodi (Sounds of Home),” by Letta Mbulu. These are unreleased cuts from her debut and second albums from 1970 and ’73, respectively. The band includes four members of the Crusaders, Arthur Adams, Wayne West, Masekela, and Francisco Aguabella on percussion. The latter track is one of the most joyous and successful attempts to pull together the world of soul and township jive ever. Elsewhere, on “Amo Sakesa” by Baranta (featuring the great vocalist Miatta Fahnbulleh) funk grooves meet the music of the Soweto street in glorious aplomb. The four selections by Baranta are the most adventurous on the set. (Check the fuzz guitar, Nigerian funk bass line, and staggered drum breaks in “Ahvuomo.”) There are three tracks here by the Zulus. All of these register from the earliest sessions. This group included Mbulu as well as Caiphus Semenya, and contained seven vocalists as well as a rhythm section. Dig the hard-driving hand drum grooves in “Za Labalaba.” The polish and sophistication of the sounds in this song are literally astonishing, and prove a perfect, seamless meeting of American gospel and South African street music, but a close second is “Aredze,” with breezy Les Paul-styled guitar by Bruce Langhorn. The gospel piano in “Awe Mfana,” by the Johannesburg Street Band sidles up magnificently to the horns played by Masekela, the Crusaders’ Wilton Felder, and Wayne Henderson, and Al Abreus with tight Steve Cropper-styled guitar by Arthur Adams. In sum, there isn’t a weak moment on this entire collection. It’s appeal is wide and deep and one can only hope this is the first of many volumes of this material to appear. BBE Records has done a stellar job in making this slab available.

Jorge Ben – Africa Brasil (1976) [320]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some great funk here and a classic still going strong! I´ve enjoyed this album so many times and I was thinking there might be some not listened to it yet. Now´s your chance!

Review by Phil Jandovsky, All Music Guide
This 1976 album is undoubtedly one of the greatest classics of Brazilian popular music, with Jorge Ben mixing funky samba, Afro-Brazilian beats, and crunching guitars to create one of the most fascinating sounds ever recorded in Brazil. The album kicks off with the raw, energetic “Ponta de Lança Africano,” and from there on it never slows down, but continues to pile up one fiery, funky gem after the other. The samba soul and samba funk scenes of the ’70s in Brazil produced many great artists and many great recordings, fully comparable with the best soul and funk music recorded in the U.S. during the same period. Jorge Ben was the most prominent figure of this scene and África Brasil is probably the most famous of his ’70s recordings. For any person who is interested in the music of Jorge Ben, or indeed Brazilian funk in general, there is no better sample of it than África Brasil.

1 Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma)
2 Hermes Trimegisto Escreveu
3 O Filosofo
4 Meus Filhos, Meu Tesouro
5 O Plebeu
6 Taj Mahal
7 Xica da Silva
8 Historia de Jorge
9 Camisa 10 da Gavea
10 Cavaleiro Do Cavalo Imaculado
11 África Brasil (Zumbi)

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