I Don't Want No-Body (To Tell Me What To Do) (4:49)
Review: Also known as the Heads Funk Band, Akwassa were a Nigerian afrobeat ensemble who only produced a few LPs under that particular moniker, but they're ones that have lasted well in the memories of collectors worldwide. La'lla was their 1975 debut, originally out on the Afrodisia label, and we have it here once again in reissue format by PMG out of Austria. "Funky Girl" kicks the party off with a groove that is might difficult not to like - upbeat vocals meet funky synth lines and quirky organs to make a true summer blazer - but the rest of the album follows in a similarly excellent style. "Orule", for example, is one of the best undiscovered afro bombs we've heard in time, those sweet soulful vocals riding high amid a fast-paced percussion rhythm, while others are deeper still and evoke the true spirit of African soul. Very highly recommended.
Review: Gbubemi Amas is hardly Nigeria's most famous musical export. He began his career at the dawn of the 1980s, enjoying a certain level of success with debut album Grill. That set, reissued here for the first time since, was in many ways typical of developments in Nigerian popular music at the time. Amas was one of a new generation of artists moving away from the Afrobeat and Highlife styles that had dominated Lagos in the 1970s, instead laying down punchy, pop-tinged cuts heavily influenced by both American dance music (and in particular disco and boogie), and AOR rock. Highlights include the tasty disco-boogie of "Slow Down", the horn-heavy dancefloor sweetness of "For You", and the atmospheric synth-pop of closer "Listen".
The Good Thing Of Life (Your Love Is The Best Of All) (5:32)
No Condition Is Permanent (5:21)
Lonely Man On The Marina (4:05)
Nigeria One & Forever (3:42)
The Sun Will Shine (3:28)
Review: Segun Bucknor is a Nigerian journalist and musician. Born in Lagos, Bucknor was educated at King's College and was a member of the school's band and choir. During this time, he apprenticed under Roy Chicago's band. In 1964, he was a member of a newly formed Hot Four who played regularly in Lagos clubs such as Surulere. Bucknor then traveled to U.S to study for a couple of years. After his return in 1968, Bucknor became the band leader. In 1969, the name of the band became Segun Bucknor and the Assembly. Gradually the group migrated from soul songs to a style of afrobeat and in their performance a dancing trio was included: The Sweet Things.
Review: Many African disco enthusiasts will already be familiar with the title track of Benis Cletin's 1979 debut album, Jungle Magic, thanks to the fine re-edit Sofrito released back in 2011. Few, though, will have heard the whole album, which here gets a well-deserved reissue on CD. Cletin's take on Afro-disco-calypso-funk fusion is undeniably sweet, with cuts such as "Mr Teacher" and "Love Forever" balancing the needs of dancefloors with a cheery looseness that's never less than intoxicating. Highlights include the urgent, synth-laden Afro-funk grunt of "Fireman", and the touching, down-tempo tribute to Africa, "Beautiful Continent".
Review: Austrian reissue merchants PMG come through with their second archival gem of the week, honing in on the mid to late '70s work of Libyan musician Ahmed Fakroun. This self-titled album is a must for vinyl-fancying Fakroun completists as it features all the tracks from his 1974 debut, Awedny, which has never before featured in this format. Complementing those ten tracks, PMG have also licensed two gems from the era - the 7" single "Auidny" he released in 1974 and "Nisyan" which came out some three years later. Fakroun's clear mastery of applying the flourishes of Western disco and pop to the traditional rai folk music of the Arabic region is apparent here on some of his earliest recordings. Delightful stuff.
Review: Ever since its initial 1983 release, Ahmed Fakroun's debut album, Mots D'Amour has been considered something of a global fusion classic by Balearic-minded record collectors. Initially released by legendary label Celluloid - home to some genuinely genre-bending electro, post-punk and experimental World Music - the well regarded full-length saw the Libyan singer/songwriter/musician blend traditional Arabic instrumentation and vocal harmonies with the distinctive shimmer of synthesizers, and typically Western pop production. 33 years on, the album has lost none of its' potency, with the breezy, English language track "Love Words", Talking Heads-ish "Soleil Soleil" and cheery "Kalimat Hob" standing out.
Review: Ever since its' initial 1983 release, Ahmed Fakroun's debut album, Mots D'Amour has been considered something of a global fusion classic by Balearic-minded record collectors. Initially released by legendary label Celluloid - home to some genuinely genre-bending electro, post-punk and experimental World Music - the well regarded full-length saw the Libyan singer/songwriter/musician blend traditional Arabic instrumentation and vocal harmonies with the distinctive shimmer of synthesizers, and typically Western pop production. 33 years on, the album has lost none of its' potency, with the breezy, English language track "Love Words", Talking Heads-ish "Soleil Soleil" and cheery "Kalimat Hob" standing out.
Review: Durng the mid-to-late 1970s, the music scene in Nigeria was dominated by releases emerging from the recording studios of Lagos. Yet across in the Eastern city of Aba, groups who drew inspiration as much from American West Coast rock as the hard-edged funk of James Brown were making serious waves. Amongst these was the eight-piece Friimen Musik Company, whose obscure, 1978 album We Can Get It On has long been considered an overlooked classic. This reissue confirms that its fusion charms - think Afro-funk meets Steely Dan via Boz Scaggs and early Bee Gees - have not been eroded by the passage of time.
Review: Point Of No Return, the 1974 debut album by Nigerian combo the Funkees, has long been a sought-after set amongst those who dig for Afro-Funk and Afro-Rock fusion. Here, the inspired set gets a CD reissue for the very first time. It's a fine set, all told, with much of the material sounding not unlike similarly minded British combo Cymande, who burst onto the scene two years before the Funkees made their recording debut. Dotted throughout the album you'll find fuzzier, harder-edged cuts inspired by psychedelic rock, and the electric piano-laden, William Onyeabor-ish bounce of the inspired title track. If you're in the mood for heavy percussion, wild organ lines and even heavier guitars, this should be an essential purchase.
Review: Gambia's Guelewar Band Of Banjul have been sat right at the top of the African psych game since the 1980s and, although they released a highly successful album in 2011, Halleli N' Dakarou, they have remained largely silent since the golden era of afrobeat. In fact, this latest reappearance form the band comes int he form of a reissue of 1981's Warteef Jigeen, a time when the group was really beginning to take shape and find their sound. The title track is the perfect opener thanks to some prophetic vocals, a big beat accompaniment, and something beautifully 60s garage about it. Other favourites include the more Afro-leaning "Mamadu Bitike", the Fela-style charge that is "NTC The Gambia", and the instantly hummable horns of "Jilanna". What a corker - highly recommended!
Review: According to the label, Nigerian singer Kiki Gyan's star "didn't burn long, but it burned bright." As a member of Afro funk super group Osibisa at 15; he was millionaire by 18 and regarded as one of the best keyboardists in the world at the tender age of 21. In 1983 he 'dived head first into the New York party scene', took a lot of drugs, spent a lot of time in clubs and got together a team of crack local musicians to record Feelin' Alright. All the artist's trademark elements are present and in full effect on this LP. The album contains irresistible elements of electronic funk, boogie and disco with the track "Rosemary" becoming a hit across Nigeria and Ghana. Kiki Gyan would never quite better this moment, for his addictions eventually took hold and he died aged only 47 at a church in Ghana. This very album 'remains one of the brightest stars in his extraordinary constellation.'
Review: First Time Out by Theodora Ifudu first came out on a Nigerian pressing back in 1981, and it has been regarded a classic and a point of inspiration ever since. Not only does the album capture the rise of boogie and disco in her native homeland, but it also pushed the classic sound onto a newer, fresher platform that is still sounding somewhat different to her contemporaries. Our favourite tune on the A-side has to be "Gbata Ngwa (Egwu Abia)", its rolling bassline and bittersweet vocals working wonders, but the sounds of "That Man" and "The Way We Are" are equally ear-opening arrangements that will undoubtedly continue to have relevance into the next decade. A majestic album from a multi-talented Nigerian woman.