Had the pleasure to be invited by the Champagne Funk guys Alex and Theo to play on Balamii a couple of weeks ago. Decided to play a solid West African OG vinyl disco/boogie mix, in celebration of our first release, NST Cophie’s ‘Bian Kou’ (which incidentally is the first track I play), hopefully out in May. Some of the tracks you may know, others hopefully will be new to you! Either way, all are favourites of mine. Alex and Theo play a great set for the first 1hr 5mins or so, then I have the pleasure of joining. Check it out!
I remember I once watched a video where the interviewee said if you see a record sleeve and the musicians are all of varying nationalities, check out the record. And this is certainly true of the back sleeve of Rim & Kasa’s afro disco LP ‘Too Tough’, released on the private label Sum Sum Records in 1982. Originating from Begoro, Ghana, Rim Kwaku Obeng had obtained the title of ‘master drummer’ at age 18. After touring the world, he settled in the US and produced this piece of musical genius. Rim’s LP is a true masterpiece, featuring musicians from across the globe (including those Rim taught himself) to produce one hell of an offering to us.
No wonder originals are coveted so highly by collectors and DJs alike. Luckily, BBE reissued Rim’s two albums (‘Too Tough’ and ‘Rim Arrives’) as well as the killer single ‘I’m Not Going To Let You Go’, last year. Saves many of us a pretty penny spent buying an OG, and that’s if you could even track them down. Check out the mad drum break accompanied by killer bass and female vocals at the 4:04 mark! Pure badness.
If you’re looking for a track sure to get the crowd on their feet, maybe Shina Williams’ ‘Agboju Logun’ is the one for you. Released on Phonodisk in Nigeria on the album ‘African Dances’, and then rereleased by Rough Trade in the UK in 1984, the groove is tight, the female vocals sweet, the bassline squelchy and the trumpets loud. All the ingredients needed for a killer eleven-minute long track.
However, lesser known but equally great is Shina’s ‘Cammy Jam Wayo’. Only appearing on the Nigerian release, check out these trumpets! And the call-and-response throughout the track between Shina and his female backing singers needs to be heard. All accompanied by killer backing percussion. A mad sixteen-,minute long journey of the highest quality afrobeat.
You want some squelchy bass accompanied by tight drums and a killer breakdown? Well look no further than Errol de la Fuente’s offering, ‘Happiness’. Released on the small Surinamese label Bongo Music in 1980, this super-rare single is sure to get the crowd funking around on the dance floor. Thankfully, Rush Hour compiled it on their recent ‘Surinam Funk Force’ compilation, which deserves checking out. Saves us the pennies spent on buying an original…