Track of the Day 12 – Abel Lima E Les Sofas’ ‘Corre Riba Corre Baxo’
A fairly prolific Cape Verde outfit with eight known LPs and a single to their name, Abel Lima E Les Sofas released their first album ‘Nos Bida’ in 1977 on the label Afrika New (the only record ever released by the label). The LP is now highly sought-after, containing various great tracks including the standout ‘Corre Riba Corre Baxo’ which we have chosen to highlight here. Fantastics vocals paired with lots of high-hats provided by drummer Serge Neves, the great catchy riff-laden rhythm guitar of Afonso Evora and the hypnotic bassline of Bernard Brito coming together to produce such a great song. The album was supervised by the ever-masterful Eko Roosevelt (who himself is now gaining recognition for his great work with various appearances on recent reissues and compilations). Check it out below!
Track of the Day 11 – Ofege’s ‘Burning Jungle’
Released on Polydor’s Nigerian division in 1978, Ofege’s fourth and final LP ‘How Do You Feel’ proved a massive hit. And with tracks such as ‘Burning Jungle’ included on the wax, its easy to see why. The track appears today to be so forward-focused, so ‘modern’ for its time, foreshadowing the further move towards boogie that was to sweep Lagos off its feet soon after. This was a move away from the band’s previous focus, which had been more towards afro-rock, influenced by guitarists such as Jimmy Paige and Carlos Santana. Check out the band’s earlier material for other great musical offerings, such as the psychedelic disco burner ‘Amayo’ from the LP ‘The Last of the Origins’ on EMI.
Recently included as a 7″ in Soundway’s ‘Doing It in Lagos’ compilation, ‘Burning Jungle’ is now widely available for all to get their hands on.
Track of the Day 10 – Colored Music’s ‘Hearbeat’
Appearing on the Japanese outfit Colored Music’s 1981 self-titled LP on the label Better Days, ‘Heartbeat’ is a fantastic proto-type electronic new wave synth workout. Now highly sought-after, this masterpiece by Atsuo Fujimoto and Ichiko Hashimoto was recently reissued as an 7 inch single edited by Chee Shimizu, and has appeared on various compilations such as the 2016 ‘More Better Days: Avant-Wave’. We only wish Colored Music had released more great music for us to all enjoy!
Track of the Day 9 – Ziad Rahbani’s ‘Abu Ali’
Released in Lebanon in 1978, Ziad Rahbani’s ‘Abu Ali’ is a perfect example of how the American ‘disco’ sound was a true global phenomenon. A mixture of Lebanese and Middle Eastern elements with the more recent disco movement, this 13 minute track deserves greater recognition in the West, although it is much more widely known in Lebanon, as is Ziad, who is a multitalented composer, pianist, performer, playwright, and political commentator. Killer!!
Track of the Day 8 – Enlightment’s ‘What’s Happening People’
Enlightment’s gospel disco album ‘Faith is the Key’ is a holy grail in the truest sense. Full of dance floor-friendly spiritual groove, the record was released on New Release Records in 1984 (although no one would be blamed for guessing its release as a few years earlier, lacking the more ‘electronic’ synth sounds emerging from 1983 onwards). Based in the Washington DC area, the band’s leader, Larry H Jordan, and his brother-in-law Frank Tinsely recognised, as many other religious groups had as well, that in order to spread their message their music had to be innovative. They therefore mixed the traditional gospel sound with modern-sounding disco elements. Although some of their songs were being played across America, the record unfortunately only received an extremely small release, due to both the distributor and pressing plant going bust at the time, meaning that original copies sell for anything up to $2000.
We’ve chosen here to highlight the LP’s fifth track ‘What’s Happening People’ (but don’t forget to also give a listen to the great title track ‘Faith is the Key’ as well!). Check out the song’s lyrics, the political message may resonate strongly with current events!
Track of the Day 7 – Crashers’ ‘Skank’ (Capo Disco)
Here we have the killer Island/US disco single ‘Skank’, by Crashers. A well-known rare island 12″, the track is a pretty hard pull today. Released on the Capo Disco label in 1981, the track is sure to get any dance floor on its feet. The label was owned and managed by late musician Glen Adams, who played a key role in Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Jamacian group The Upsetters. The track is soon to be reissued on Emotional Rescue/Jamwax. Get it fast. Skank!
Track of the Day 6 – Rim & Kasa’s ‘Love Me For Real’
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.
Track(s) of the Day 5 – Shina William’s ‘Agboju Logun’ and ‘Cammy Jam Wayo’
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.
Track of the Day 4 – Errol de la Fuente’s ‘Happiness’
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…
Track of the Day 3 – Livy Ekemezie’s ‘Holiday Action’
It’s a shame that one of the strongest Nigerian boogie LPs has to also be one of the hardest to find. Livy Ekemezie’s ‘Friday Night’, released in Enugu on the private label Linic Major Production Records is full to the brim with funk, disco and boogie badness, every track sure to set the floor on fire. We’ve chosen here to highlight ‘Holiday Action’, but you should also check out the rest of the LP for more musical genius! Fortunately those good guys at Strut have been too kind, and a reissue is out soon. Saves us spending the better part of £1000 to get our hands on the tracks…
Track of the Day 2 – De Frank Professionals’ ‘Afe Ato Yen Bio’
Appearing on the Ghanian label Anopa Nsonoma in 1978, the De Frank Professionals’ album of the same name is a grail in the truest sense of the word, highly desirable for both collectors and DJs. And once given a listen its soon obvious why. In ‘Afe Ato Yen Bio’, De Frank, backed by Vis-a-Vis (a band highly renowned in their own right – just check out their track ‘Obi Agye Me Dofo‘ to see why) leads us through just under five minutes of killer afro funk. Thankfully, all shout outs go to Samy at Analog Africa, who has kindly done us all a massive favour, reissuing the track officially on his 2013 ‘Afro Beat Airways’ compilation. An original would always be nice though…
Track of the Day 1 – Oby Onyioha’s ‘Enjoy Your Life’
Released in 1981 on the Nigerian record label Time, Oby Onyioha’s LP ‘I Want To Feel Your Love’ is a classic Lagos boogie cut produced by the great Lemmy Jackson. Now highly sought-after by collectors and DJs alike, the album is most know for the track ‘Enjoy Your Life’, recently compiled by Soundway Records on their compilation ‘Doing It In Lagos’. Other great tracks on the album include the title disco track ‘I Want To Feel Your Love’, and the more traditional ‘Nine N’Enye’.