Pablo Lubadika Porthos – En Action: Ma Coco (1981)

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Pablo Lubadika Porthos
En Action – Ma Coco
Released 1981
Afro Hit Records Discafrique – DARL-019 (France)

1. Ma Coco
2. Mbongo Mokonzi
3. Madeleina
4. Bo Mbanda

Pabulco Lubadika Porthos – composer, arranger, vocal, guitar, bass
Lea Lianzi – lead vocal
Jo John Mboutany – backing vocal
Master Mwana – congas, guitar
Domingo “Salsero” – drums, percussion
Manga Jerry – Trumpet
Priso – sax
Roger Kom – sax

Photo by DRAME BAZOUMANA

Produced by Sonny Dick
M’Bahia Jean-Charles – manager
Richard Dick (!) – “executive producer”

Recorded at Studio Laguna, Paris.  An “International Salsa Musique” production

PABLO, Lubadika Porthos

(b 1950s, Zaire) African singer-composer, bassist, guitarist. Played in the 1970s with bands including Kin Bantous, Lovy du Zaire, Groupe Celibithou, Orchestre Kara; to Paris to play with Sam Mangwana and the African All-Stars on classic ‘Georgette Eckins’, joined session musicians on Salsa Musique label, playing on albums by Pamelo Mounk’a, Master Mwana Congo, Assi Kapela, and pursued a solo career with albums of fast, sweet soukous: Concentration, Idie, Revient En Force, En Action. Tracks ‘Bo Mbanda’ and ‘Madeleina’ on Island label’s African compilation ’81 brought wider fame; played with Les Quatre Etoiles in London ’84, released first UK album Pablo Pablo Pablo ’85 on Globestyle. He was much sought after for sessions. There was a compilation Okominiokolo ’93 on Stern’s.

from from  http://www.donaldclarkemusicbox.com/encyclopedia/detail.php?s=2738

Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2
cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio
Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click
Repair light settings; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe
Audition 3.0 – resampled (and dithered for 16-bit) using iZotope RX
Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag&

Some
random crate digging lead me to this gem of early 80s soukous music and a
few others like it.  The guitars intertwine like go-go dancers playing
Twister at a ballet.   This is not to be missed, but since I don`t speak the
languages I can’t offer any insight into the lyrical content or context.  The vocals, sung in harmony throughout, are lovely and melodic, even if the melodies begin to seem a little overly familiar by the end of the second side.  The big hit on this record was “Madeleina” which offers a little of the best of everything.  It also showcases one of the unique traits of soukous – about which I know very little so indulge me for a moment:  it is a pop style, but one that has limitless patience to show you what it has to say.  It is uptempo but unhurried.  For those whose ears were first subjected to the strains of 80s “World Music” it may even seem oddly familiar, because in a way Soukous and Highlife conquered the world in that decade, reaching a global audience, and often being diluted and neutered by European and American pop stars incorporating them into their records.  Every now and then an actual African managed to garner fame enough to work up some ticket and record sales with non-African audiences.   It is not my area of expertise but I’ll go out on a limb and say that the popularity of African musics in Europe and the U.S. would not be possible without the vibrant immigrant populations and neighborhoods, whether in Paris, Notting Hill, or New York.  This particular album was recorded in Paris and released on the Afro Hit Records Discafrique label, with the “executive producer” / label guy / liner note author / redundantly-named man Richard Dick.

The drummer Domingo “Salsero” gets extra points for sheer stamina and the ability to fend off painful leg cramps from a pounding kick drum beat that never varies.  Drop the pitch on that drum a little and you would keep today’s club kids happy and giggling in Ecstasy for hours.  An interesting stylistic point is that the snare drums is barely used at all, being deployed only for fills.  The main beat is carried out strictly on kick and hi-hat, except for Madeleina which has a few sections where Domingo just rocks the fuck out on the snare.  In fact the centrality of the hi-hat to mark time leads to a technical problem with the vinyl.  As most vinyl enthusiasts have noticed, some records (in combination with some tone-arms and stylii) are prone to “inner groove distortion” where tracking the groove becomes a bit of a problem as the needle moves closer to the inner label, the end of an album side.  When IGD is present, the distortion is almost always in the forms of high frequency sibilance.  In this case, it sounds as if the hi-hat is in danger of coming loose from the drum kit, flying out of your speakers, and decapitating you on your sofa.  So don’t turn the volume too loud or that just might happen.  My cartridge can be prone to sibilance in the first place (as one obnoxious blog visitor pointed out), but usually it is only an issue with certain records and even certain pressings of certain records.   Some months after transferring this album, I realized
that an extra tenth of a gram of weight on the tone-arm could sometimes
help this problem, helping the stylus to sit better in the groove and hence track more cleanly, but by then I had already refiled the LP, done
preliminary processing (Click Repair and track division) and sort of
resolved myself to working with this as it is.  If I can remember to try playing
this album with a little more weight someday, maybe I will start all over
again on this one, but don’t hold your breath.  I am also not convinced the difference will be anything but minimal, as a lot depends on the quality of the recording and especially the pressing plants that made the records.  Sad but true, while many major-label albums are certainly known to give audio enthusiasts a headache with Inner Groove Distortion (there are lists out there!), the problem seems even more common with smaller labels who had lease resources, quality control, and/or access to first-rate mastering and pressing facilities.

Draft of an abstract, The Story of the Object, the Circulation of the Commodity, and the Inscription of Names: Globalization and African Music from Paris to New York.  Submitted by Flabbergast  to the Journal of Musical Semiology and Historical Materialism, Ikea Publishing House: Amsterdam.

This Pablo Lubadika Porthos album once belonged to Rex.  After he brought it home, Rex noticed that
the New York City shop where he purchased it was astute enough to put a
little sticker on the back cover advertizing its name and location.
Good business practice for an independent retailer specializing in the
importation of African music.  Realizing that he also had a
responsibility to future generations, Rex resolved to inscribe his own
mark for the aid of future music historians.  He did this with a big
thick magic marker on the front, back, and center labels of the album.
Like any fine artist, he set his work aside for a day or two to
contemplate it, putting it on an easel in the corner of the room where could gaze upon it while smoking cigarettes and eating jelly donuts.  The muse
whispered in his ear that the work was not yet finished.  Going to the
art supply shop, he bought himself a fine felt-tipped pen and came back
to his loft, where he set to work inscribing his name in his
characteristic, singular hand, in miniscule letters nestled inside the
lettering of the album title, and inside the back cover photo of
Lupadika.  In one final flourish, he signed and dated the inner label:
5/30/81.

At last the artist could rest.

More than 30 years later, an artificial intelligence on the internet named Flabbergast took it upon
himself to “restore” this artwork in Photoshop and remove all traces of Rex’s handiwork before further circulating the commodity in the accumulation of bandwidth. With the important exception of the inner label marking, which is permanent and irreversible.  In this act of inscription, Rex highlights how the erasures of colonial histories are resistant to the globalizing universalism of Late Capitalism.

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Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80 – Army Arrangement (1985)

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Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80
“Army Arrangment”
Released 1985 on Celluloid (CELL 6109)
Reissued 2001 on MCA (314 549 381-2)

I am too upset and angry to write a commentary for this album. I stayed awake all night watching online live coverage of the situation in Egypt, then woke up and watched their Vice President talk absolute garbage, telling bald-faced lies, blaming the unrest on `outside agendas`, and basically threatening the protesters should they continue. This is coming after a night of attacks on peaceful demonstrators by agents provocateurs, plainclothes police officers, and paid thugs attempting to delegitimize the continued presence of popular manifestations. I think it is safe to say that in the eyes of most of the world, they have failed – the protests are legitimate, and this dictatorship has to come down, NOW. Journalists are now being rounded up and detained. The situation is, as the cliché goes, will probably get worse before it gets any better.

I spent a little while looking through my record collection in my stainless-steel bunker for any angry music from Egypt, wishing I had access to my secret vault in the Kayman Islands that holds the rest of my collection, and then looking through computer hard drives. I came up with this album. Unless you have been living under a rock or in a steel bunker for the last half century, you know that Fela Kuti was Nigerian, and not Egyptian. But he named his second band Egypt 80 for symbolic reasons, and this oft-overlooked album seems to fit my mood at least. Considerably less of a hard-edged sound than his earlier material (can we blame producer Bill Laswell? please say yes…) Anyway. Check it out.

I am sending out VIBES to the people of Egypt and especially those in Tahrir Square: DO NOT GO HOME. Do not give up. Do not believe anything your government says or any conciliatory advice from their “sympathizers” (apologists). Mubarak has had 30 years to prove himself amenable to the demands and criticisms of his own people. He has not. Time to go home, Mubarak. THERE SHALL BE NO COMPROMISE.

Outside influences? Really? Let me say something about outside influences. Egypt is the second largest recipient of United States military aid in the world. I am a citizen of the United States. I certainly never voted for this aid nor gave my support for it. The canisters of tear gas being volleyed at the protesters since the beginning had “Made in the U.S.A.” stamped on them. This makes me nauseous and ashamed.

It is a pathetic hypocrisy to DEPEND on “outside influences”, such as powerful allies like the Policeman-To-The-World that the US has been for a half century, and then claim that “outside influences” must be purged and foreign powers need to stop meddling in your affairs.

As Liston Lonnie Smith said — “CITIZENS OF THE WORLD! It’s time for WORLD PEACE.”

Get this motherfucker out of office.

————————

Artwork By [Concept] – Patrick Di Meglio
Artwork By [Picture] – Gilles Chagny
Bass Guitar – Herman Menimade Addo
Congas – Ola Ijagun
Drums – Francis Foster
Drums [Simmons] – Sly Dunbar (tracks: A)
Flugelhorn – Oye Shobowale
Guitar [Rhythm] – Chukwudi Aroga , Keji Ifarunmi
Guitar [Tenor] – Okalue Ojeah
Keyboards [Yamaha Rx 11], Talking Drum [Chatan], Cowbell – Aiyb Dieng (tracks: B1, B2)
Leader, Saxophone [Baritone] – Lekan Animashaum
Maracas – Fosibor Okafor*
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Organ [Hammond B3] – Bernie Worrell (tracks: A, B1)
Percussion [Sticks] – Lamptey Addo
Piano [Rhythm] – Dele Shosimi
Producer – Bill Laswell , Fela
Recorded By, Mixed By – Robert Musso
Saxophone [Alto] – Nana-Femi-Anikulapo Kuti
Saxophone [Baritone, 2nd] – Acheampong (Kolaoni)
Saxophone [Soprano] – Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Saxophone [Tenor] – Oyinade Adeniran
Talking Drum – Aiyb Dieng (tracks: A)
Trumpet [2nd] – Akomeah Dodo

** This is not my rip and I owe thanks to the SUN KING for it. I hope he doesn’t mind the reappropriation and resignification.

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in 320 em pé tré

in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

secret codes to the insurgent uprising are in the commentaries

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(alternate album cover)

Thre Green Arrows – 4-track Recording Session 1974-79 (2007) {Analog Africa No.1}

This post is for Waltzing Matilda in São Paulo

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analog africa

THE GREEN ARROWS
4-Track Recording Session
Released 2006 on Analog Africa
Original recordings made between 1974 – 1979

1 Mwana Waenda
2 Bambo Makwatila
3 Chitima Nditakure
4 Amai Mandida
5 Towering Inferno
6 Nkosi’s Intro
7 Chipo Chiroorwa
8 Dororengu Rinonaka
9 No Delay (Bullitt)
10 Nhengure
11 Infalilibe Chisoni
12 Madzangara Dzimu
13. 13 Nherera Zvichengete
14. 14 Musango Mune Hangaiwa
15. 15 Nyoka Yendara
16. 16 Hurungwe
17. 17 Chechule Wavala Botom
18. 18 Chimamuna Chamímba
19. 19 Vaparidzi Vawanda
20. 20 Wasara Wasara

This is a great compilation from the wonderful Analog Africa label. The first release in their catalog, it is put together with all the loving care you would come to expect — great notes, great research, amazing photos and graphic layout. Sound is good too. One weird thing is that the booklet refers the listener to their website to check out the lyrics, and the website — even in 2010 — is a placeholder with nothing on it. It is almost charming that they don’t give a crap about websites and instead focus on such amazing, dedicated PHYSICAL OBJECTS of their releases!

In the links you will find full artwork scans of the 20-page booklet in JPG and TIF. Lots of photos of the band posing around motor vehicles of some kind — cars, buses, tractors…

I don’t typically like posting reviews from other places, but I am busy writing other things today and this brief piece from the BBC is smart and succinct:

Garth Cartwright 2007-04-17

Zimbabwe is an African nation that is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons: Robert Mugabe’s lethal grip on power, the collapse of the economy, brutal oppression of any individuals brave enough to challenge the ruling regime, absolute poverty and a soaring mortality rate. To think Zimbabwe was once a nation feted by the likes of Bob Marley and celebrated internationally for its fertile music scene!

Depressing as current conditions in Zimbabwe are this album reminds of how magical the nation once was and hints that the natural talent and ingenuity of the citizens will once again flower in a better future. The Green Arrows are now considered the most important musical act to emerge from Zimbabwe in the 1970s. Initially formed by Zexie and Stanley Manatsa in 1966, The Green Arrows rapidly rose to become (by 1970) the most popular bar band in Rhodesia (as the nation was then known). Stanley quickly developed into a superb guitarist whose sparkling, melodic playing continues to inspire today.

Nicknamed “wha-wha (=beer) music” as they made their name playing the large drinking dens the nation’s workers congregated at, The Green Arrows were the first Zimbo band to record an LP (in February 1976) and still hold the record for the longest stay at No 1 (with ”Musango Mune Hangaiwa” holding on for four months). This 20-track compilation covers their recording history from 1974-1979 and reveals a remarkably dynamic and imaginative band. While the drums-bass-guitar(s) line-up mimics Western pop-rock acts, the Manatsa brothers were inventive musicians who effortlessly fused traditional Southern African flavours with American influences. Superb sleeve notes from African music expert Banning Eyre make this a CD to treasure.

analog africa

in 320 em pee twee

in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

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Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Take One 1974-79 (2006) [Analog Africa No.2]

analog africa

analog africa

Hallelujah Chicken Run Band

Take One (1974-79)
Analog Africa No.2
2006, Alula Records (ALU 2002)

What a thing of beauty this disc is! Africa during the 1960s witnessed a host of incredible bands that came to prominence playing their music in the dim afterthoughts of colonialism, the sweat and smoke-filled corners of leisure found in places like rail stations, hotels, and bars funded by the capital of heavy industry. The latter was the case for the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, which formed under the direct incentive of a Zimbabwe copper mine looking for a good band to keep its workers satiated and spending their money. This compilation from the Analog Africa label presents their story in words and music from inception to collapse, with an informative and entertaining essay by Samy Ben Redjeb, amazing photos and graphic layout, and a good mastering job. Redjeb details how the band had been assembled by trumpet player Daram Karanga who convinced a handful of the area’s best musicians to relocate out into the middle of nowhere for this gig. They had been peppering their sets with Afro-rock and funk of the type popular in Nigeria and Ghana at the time, and the mine workers just weren’t going for it. Noticing that people went bat-shit crazy when they played traditional music from Zimbabwe, they pretty much invented their own thing, crafting a sound that was, as they say, `way ahead of its time.` The band saw a lot of different musicians go through their ranks in a relatively short span of time. The most famous of them is singer and drummer Thomas Mapfumo, but all of the players are overflowing with talent here.

Every song on here is a gem. Jumping out at you with the propulsive kick drum beats, the uptempo cuts foreshadow much of the African music to emerge over the next twenty years. Of particular importance is the guitar work of Joshua Hlornayi, who played angular, staccato melodies broken up by clean-toned chord voicings – this is miles away from the way guitar was being used by most bands in West Africa at the time. The combination of frenetic guitar, slower and more sparse bass guitar lines, and drums heavy on the kick drum and stick work on the snare, all contribute to a sound that I can only manage to describe as “circular.” This rhythmic frenzy is accomplished without the help of the variety of percussion usually associated with African music, restricting themselves to a simple drum kit and guitars. Above the frenzy soars the brass, with wonderful work from Daram Karanga and saxophonist Robson Boore in beautiful arrangements. The infectiously melodic vocals are consistently impressive on this collection also (although it is a shame that I can’t understand a word of it). Take a song like “Murembo” — it is wickedly complicated, with gorgeous vocal harmony intro starting things off, when then changes its structure just as an instrumental arrangement crawls out from under it and begins playing a trance-inducing lope through the rest of the tune. The liner notes by Redjeb (for which he also conducted a few interviews) can be somewhat confusing when it comes to names and recording details, but a look at the detailed discography and personnel list on the last pages of the booklet show us just what kind of raw material he had to work with when trying to summarize the HCR band. This is a record that I liked immediately on first listen, and began to love soon afterward, and I never seem to get tired of the material. If you can track this down, pick up a copy and support Analog Africa for the wonderful work they do.

analog africa

Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Take One 1974-79 (2006) in 320kbs em pee twee

Hallelujah Chicken Run Band – Take One 1974-79 (2006) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

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Ghana Soundz – Afro-Beat, Funk And Fusion In 70's Ghana (2002)

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Various Artists – Ghana Soundz:
Afro-Beat, Funk And Fusion In 70’s Ghana (2002)
Soundway Records (SNDWY 001)

I have been sitting on sharing this one for a long time, waiting and putting it off until I had the inspiration to write something sufficiently flabbergasted about it. But now that I just heard, due to my sleeplessness leading me to an online newspaper, that Ghana had a victorious World Cup game today (Saturday), I feel I can`t hold back any more. No pithy remarks or deconstruction of the music this time. I don’t even really care about the World’s Cup – it’s just not in my blood, I guess you could say. But I am really happy to hear about Ghana’s win.

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This disc was the first of many wonderful compilations from Englands’s Soundway Records. While in terms of packaging and notes, Soundway would only continue to get better and better over these last years, the music pretty much sets the template of what we can expect from any of their releases – rare grooves, truly creative arrangements and instrumentation, and for the most part excellent sound quality. Some of my personal favorites here are the tracks from Ebo Taylor, Oscar Sulley and the Uhuru Jazz Band, the Honny and the Bees Band, and especially K.Frimpong and his Cubano Fiestas who kick out a smoldering deep groove and then four minutes in blow my mind with a beautifully melodic versus replete with harmonies that crescendo into .. .more smoldering grooving. Just when I think they can’t do anything else to surprise me, they end the song with a bloody Moog solo, and then my head explodes in time with my shuffling feet. I can’t swear on it, since it is three in the morning and I would be sleeping if I could, but this might be my favorite cut of them all. Though the Apagya Show Band that follows them with more scintillating scorch marks on my eardrums follows pretty closely. Actually there is quite a bit more analog-synthesizer freakness on this collection which tickles me tenderly in the places that matter, more than I am used to hearing on this type of material.

At this point in my time on earth, what I once thought to be impossible has begun to occur – I am beginning to tire of James Brown known-offs, particularly because there seems to be no particular bottom to that barrel that is still being scraped and most probably always will be. There, I said it. I won’t name names but there are one or two tunes on this that I can just as easily pass over, even though they are still pretty good.

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Ghana Sounds – Ghana Soundz – Afro-Beat, Funk And Fusion In 70’s Ghana (2002) in 320 kbs em pee tree (PLEASE STAND BY… I seem to have lost this link from months and months ago..)

Ghana Soundz – Afro-Beat, Funk And Fusion In 70’s Ghana (2002) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO

password – senha in comments if needed

Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Afrika 70 – Opposite People / Sorrow, Tears & Blood (1977)


I plan to share some African music NOT from Nigeria in the next week or so, but until then a Fela album wouldn’t hurt. There’s nothing rare or arcane about the man’s music at this point of the digital age. Nowadays you can find his work everywhere. But there was a time when — where I was living, at least – Fela’s albums were quite rare. I remember being in high-school and having a cassette tape of his stuff that was a treasured possession, given to me by a bass player for a reggae-funk band I had befriended as a young lad. I played the shit out of that tape until the magnesium oxide was shedding onto your finger tips just handling the thing. For over ten years it was the only Fela I possessed in my music collection, a random 90-minute mixtape of his stuff. These days, there is a band in Rio de Janeiro devoted solely to playing his music, and bands in the US from New York to Ann Arbor that are just shamelessly ripping him off. Always go back to the original, though, and you will see why he was an international iconoclastic heavyweight the likes of which are rarely seen, and can’t be imitated.

Post-colonial marxist rhythm and blues lead off Fela & Afrika 70’s ‘Opposite People’, the title track a fast, frantic afrosoul workout in composite time. Fela has an extended sax solo on this one and doesn’t begin singing until eleven minutes in. A slower beat but an identical structure characterize the class-consciousness metaphor-making of ‘Equalization of Trouser and Pant’. This is a fine enough album but reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend about how you can substitute a handful of these Afrika 70 titles from the early to mid-70s pretty much interchangeably. You have one, you kind of have them all, although I prefer to have them all. An opinion like this is bound to induce flames in the comments section, but I assure you I mean no ill will towards Fela. Unlike Caetano Veloso, who is still a douche.

The real item of interest on this Sony 2-on-1 disc is the album “Sorrow, Tears & Blood”. Released as the first title on Fela’s own Kalakuta Records after being dropped by Decca in the wake of the government’s raid on his compound and confiscation of his master tapes (which he managed to get back, thankfully), it shows Fela and Afrika 70 shifting gears ever so slightly to a more foreboding, loping groove. It’s short EP-length keeps it powerful enough to lodge in your memory. The second side, ‘Colonial Mentality’, is a monster, and something of an anthem toward the continual unfolding process of decolonizing the mind, body, and spirit. Some of Tony Allen’s most innovative playing can be heard in the low-burning, restrained bedrock he sets down, creating a tension that you keep expecting him to release with some more ebullient, open playing but which he never quite does aside from laying on the ride cymbals for a few measures here and there. Groove and lyrical intention in sync here.

Opposite People (1977)
1. Opposite People (16:37)
2. Equalisation of Trouser and Pant (16:43)

Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977)
3. Sorrow Tears and Blood (10:16)
3. Colonial Mentality (13:42)

Contains complete artwork, cue, log, m3u files

Fela & Afrika 70 – Opposite People / Sorrow, Tears & Blood (1977) in 320kbs em pee tree

Fela & Afrika 70 – Opposite People / Sorrow, Tears & Blood (1977) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO
Part One //////////// Part Two

Sorry for having to go back to zshare again for a while, folks, but there’s nothing I can do about it at the moment. There is a proverb in English about beggars and choosers, pays to recall it…

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