Senegal

the tracks are compiled from various albums and cassettes by number 1 de dakar (see booklet for details). this compilation does not feature tracks that are on the dakar sound releases

Günter Gretz is a one-man record label operating out of Frankfurt. When he goes into the control room, I imagine he slips off his jacket and underneath is wearing a Superman costume. He really is the Superhero of World Music, keeping it alive with well-selected and consistently brilliant reissues. His African Dancefloor Classics series, subtitled "Reminiscin' in Tempo" is the core of any good collection of African classics. NUMBER III DE NUMBER 1 is the latest installment in the Senegalese salsa/mbalax story of Star Band and Number One de Dakar. Number One were the main rivals to Orchestre Baobab in the 1970s. Both had similar sounds apart from the guitars. Baobab's Barthelemy Attiso is the consummate technician and plays quietly but his understated leads creep up on you till you are totally engulfed in his sound. Yahya Fall is more of a chancer: he uses dramatic effects so tube screamer and fuzz-tone pedals pop on when you least expect them and jarringly remind you of acid rock. Star Band are well-known for applying the traditional Wolof instruments sabar and talking drum to Cuban rumba rhythms. Yahya Fall joined the Star Band in 1970 but quit 6 years later, feeling he wasn't getting his due from bandleader Ibra Kassé. He left with other disgruntled musicians and they formed a new band called Starband Numero Un, claiming they had the original members aboard. But Ibra Kassé had the Minister of Internal Affairs on his side and the breakaway group were told to think of another name and leave Star Band alone. Thus they switched the Numero Un to English and became Number One de Dakar. Founder Pape Seck (beloved for his work with Africando) was chef d'orchestre. Other vocalists included Mar Seck and Nicolas Mennheim. Ali Penda Ndoye also joined on trumpet. But don't expect slick New York-style salsa horn charts, these guys ain't the Fania All-Stars: they have their own ideas about horn playing so there is some very ragged (but charming) soloing on here. And the guitarwork shimmers. If you were disappointed that you didn't get to see Africando after the death of Gnonnas Pedro derailed their last tour, you can console yourself with this album. It's not all Cuban, there's a lot of loping mbalax with outrageous outbursts on the tama by Mamané Fall and those smoky questioning vocals echoing in the distance while the guitars chop about and the horns make tentative replies to the melody.

The previous releases of Number One have been on Dakar Sound. The original "Yaye boy," "Guajira ven" and "Walo" were on No 1 DE No 1 (Dakar Sound 6 1996), a must-have album. The follow-up, No 2 DE No 1, came out in 2000. In addition they were anthologized on two crucial Dakar Sound compilations, THEIR THING & LATIN THING. Pape Seck's insistent "Nongui, nongui" was the opener on THE MUSIC IN MY HEAD compiled by Mark Hudson. It also crops up on ESCALE DE SENEGAL VOL 1, along with "Walo" and "Say Konntaa," and another Dakar Sound volume 100% PURE DOUBLE CONCENTRÉ. Gretz has considerately avoided duplicating any of these releases. He draws from nine cassettes and LPs to produce a genuine "Best of the rest" compilation. I know Pape Seck's "Liti-liti" because it occurs on a more obscure series of Senegalese compilations: the SENEGAL FLASH series which came out in France, as does "Ndaga seri boy" from the MAAM BAMBA album, in which Pape Seck urges the audience to dance the Ndagga with him. So put on your clogs and ah-one and ah-two... -muzikifan

1. Junto A Un Cañaveral 8:31
2. Alee 6:30
3. Yonou Dara Ji 9:07
4. Liti-Liti 5:51
5. Ndaga Seeri Boy 6:05
6. Senegal Jambaar 6:11
7. Kaniaane 6:10
8. Yeli Bana 9:38
9. Takoussane 6:20
10. Geej 6:06
11. Viva Number One 5:16

Note
Incl. booklet

Nigeria


Wicked 70s Juju beats in top shape!

Here's another late '70s-vintage juju lp, this time it's ''Super Star Verse'' from Nigeria's Sir Shina Adewale and His Super Stars International. The rawness and distortion index is upped on this one, with faster tempo overall. While unmistakably juju, the two side-length medleys rock more demonstrably than do most of Sunny Adé's out put from this era. By the way, yes, there will be more of the latter's Nigerian lp's to come in the immediate future.  -Count Reeshard

Segun Adewale born into a royal family in 1955 in Oshogbo, Nigeria, was introduced to music at an early age through his father's amateur guitar-playing. His father objected to a career in music for his son and so Adewale left his hometown for Lagos where he became an apprentice musician with Chief S.L. Atolagbe and his Holy Rainbow. Soon Adewale hooked up with the father of Juju music, I.K. Dairo who gave him encouragement and taught him about arranging and composing. In 1977 Adewale, along with his good friend Sir Shina Peters, formed a new group Shina Adwale and the Superstars International. In the three years the band lasted they issued nine recordings. In 1980 Adewale and Peters split up the group and went on to form their own seperate groups. By 1984 Adewale has refined his sound into something he dubbed "Yo Pop", which he described as a blend of funk, jazz, juju, reggae, and Afro-beat.

Vinyl rip by Count Reeshard

1. Awa Ni Superstars / Eyo Mo Wa / Ori Mi Gbemi Leke / Oluwa Yi Won Lokan Pada / Eda To Mola Kosi / A Dupe Emaseun Eni 19:29
2. Adura Mi Ti Gba / Ope Ni Fun Eledumare / Mi O Sojo Mo / Aigbagbo Bila / Tunde Bakare Balogun / Bola And Kamoru 19:32

Colombia

The King Of Cumbia

Easily one of the most identifiable forms of music to come out of Latin America, cumbia has a certain longevity that comes from its infectious spirit. It’s almost impossible to sit still while listening to it, and it mixes well with a wide range of other styles, from Afrobeat to punk rock. Cumbia, a truly Caribbean art form, comes from the synthesis of the African and indigenous American cultures of Colombia. Andrés Landero has never needed to water down his cumbia; he plays it in its purest form, each song full of rich tradition. Yo Amanecí compiles 20 such songs from 1966 to 1982, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more definitive collection of classic cumbia.

The tracks run the gamut in tone and mood. The album starts with “La Cigarrona”, a fast, engaging instrumental that sounds a little like a three-minute vamp but holds its own as it leads into the dramatic “Mara del Carmen”, a midtempo tune that Landero delivers with a lot of emotion and just a hint of romance. Later on, “Mercedes Elena” offers a lighter, slower alternative for relaxing on the shores of Cartagena. Along the way, the intense and the beachy mingle, giving something to sway to for any occasion.

The instrumentation is minimal and effective; Landero sings as he plays a versatile accordion, accompanied by tight percussion and a simple bassline in the back. There’s no real deviation from this formula, and his band is a solid and sturdy framework upon which Landero can build, draping his passionate poetry and lyrical agility over the structure of tradition. That tradition does not restrict him but instead shows him a path that allows him to make something fresh and personal.

With all that said, this is an album for a specific listener, one with at least some level of devotion to vintage cumbia (and preferably someone whose level of devotion is set at “die-hard”). The sound quality here is rustic, to say the least, and though there is range across the album, the differences are often subtle. That aforementioned set structure persists so strongly throughout the compilation that if you don’t like it once, you probably won’t want to hear it 20 times. This is a vibrant slice of history, no doubt, but it’s one that relies heavily on very specific instrumentation, which includes the oft-misunderstood accordion.

So, cumbia enthusiasts: the world is your oyster with this essential collection, which is strong with nostalgia and textures of the Caribbean, infused with Andrés Landero’s love of his native Colombia. This is an anthology that will wrap you in sea breezes and warm you beneath a South American sun. Landero has earned his many accolades—multiple cities have crowned him King of Cumbia—and his music lives on, free and rhythmic. Landero’s whole heart goes into every song he plays, and Yo Amanecí overflows with love. -Adriane Pontecorvo

Andrés Gregorio Landero Guerra, born in 1931 in San Jacinto, Colombia, embodies the spirit that made it possible to bring cumbia music to the world. Synonymous with the evolution of this musical genre, Landero managed to charm audiences through a complex weave of compositions, shot through with local nuances and diverse derivations from his native Caribbean province. He constantly sought to create his own language while remaining acutely alive to tradition. Landero left home at seventeen, manifesting his passion to take artistic creation to the limit while demonstrating his belief in freedom and communal living. In 1964, he started his musical career with Discos Curro, the landmark Costeño label owned by José María "Curro" Fuentes from Cartagena. In 1965, he released Fiel Caricia, his first album with this label, presenting a broad and intense repertoire of merengue, paseo, and cumbia music. Landero displays his compositional brilliance by combining naturalness and long-standing carnival tradition. He was named King of Cumbia in El Banco (Magdalena), King of the Bolivian accordion festival in Arjona (Bolívar), and King of Cumbia in Mexico. He constantly paid tribute to his native land with heart, with soul and the ability to stir emotions, on albums such as Cumbia En La India (1966), Mujer Querida (1969) or La Fiebre (1969). This first stage of Landero's work with Discos Fuentes is a vast compendium of rural dialogues of unswerving beauty, encompassing songs in the son, paseo, puya, cumbia, pasebol, merengue, and gaita styles. Tender, wild poetry that describes a delightful panorama of true stories, sea breezes and sun that unfolds timelessly. Landero returned to Fuentes in 1979 with Bailando Cumbia (1979), followed by El Hijo Del Pueblo (1981) and ¡Por ahí es que va... la cosa! (1983). Not one of the records released during Andrés Landero's career is dispensable. His coherent and constant efforts to build on the foundations of the cumbia tradition form an extraordinary legacy rich in masterpieces of Colombian popular music. He is the author of a polyphonic blossoming and the outstanding figure through which to appreciate, from a historical perspective, the syncretism of indigenous and African slave music from the Caribbean coast, namely cumbia. Yo Amaneci gathers tracks from 1966 to 1982, taken from his albums on Discos Fuentes and other labels. Includes liner notes by Carlos Mario Mojica (Don Alirio).

1. La Cigarrona 2:55
2. Mara del Carmen 4:16
3. Tambó Tambó 3:27
4. Virgen de la Candelaria 4:20
5. Perdí las albarcas 2:42
6. Mi machete 2:38
7. La muerte de Eduardo Lora 2:45
8. Martha Cecilia 3:00
9. Cuando lo negro sea bello 3:04
10. Así se goza 2:37
11. Cumbia en la India 2:49
12. Que te vaya bien 2:42
13. Por ahí es que va la cosa 4:25
14. La mochila terciá 3:00
15. Rosa y Mayo 2:29
16. La pava congona 3:10
17. Yo amanecí 2:41
18. Las Mellas 2:32
19. Mercedes Elena 2:51
20. La Sanjacintera 2:45

Chicago

Some Classic Northern Soul From George Leaner's Chicago-Based Labels

The 28 tracks in this Germany-based 1998 release by the budget label Charly (previously located in the U.K.) present just some of the sides recorded by 11 different artists/groups for Chicago-based record company owner George Leaner and his trio of labels - One-Derful, Mar-V-Lus and M-Pac - with most concentrating on the Mar-V-Lus output. His operation ran from 1962 to 1968 with 50 singles released on the One-Derful label from 1962 to 1968, 22 with the Mar-V-Lus imprint from 1965 to 1967, and 36 as M-Pac releases from 1963 to 1967. Since the contents are not shown above, I have listed them in the Comments below along with discography details for your added information (3 were previously unreleased).

Actual hit singles (i.e., making any national singles charts) were, as you can see, few and far between, but that does not take anything away from these otherwise great Northern Soul sides which reflect the Mississippi heritage of Leaner (born there on June 1, 1917 - died at age 66 on September 18, 1983). Today, when anyone mentions the classic Shake A Tail Feather, the artists that will jump to mind are James & Bobby Purify who took it to # 15 R&B and # 25 Hot 100 in mid-1967 for Bell Records, but it really doesn't have anything on the original recording included here by The five Du-Tones of St. Louis (Willie Guest, Frank McCurrey, LeRoy Joyce, James West and Andrew Butler) whose version for One-Derful topped out at # 28 R&B/# 51 Hot 100.

The Girl-Group duo of Barbara Livesy and Mary Francis Hayes recording as The Du-Ettes never enjoyed a nationally-charting side, but later Barbara would team up with sister Gwen and Doris Lindsey as Barbara & The Uniques and register in late 1970/early 1971 with the # 16 R&B/# 91 Hot 100 There It Goes Again for Arden Records. Another group presented here, The Blenders of Chicago (lead Gail Mapp, Hilliard "Johnny" Jones, Albert Hunter, Goldie Coates and Delores Johnson) had registered a # 61 R&B in July 1963 with Daughter for Witch Records before joining Leaner's labels.

Following the closure of his labels in 1968, several of his stable of artists moved to those launched by George's brother Ernie under the names Toddlin' Town and Midas, which distributed records into 1971. Ernie, who had been born on August 15, 1921, lived to the age of 69 before passing away in April of 1990.

The sound quality is as good as can be considering that they were culled from the best vinyl sources available, making this a decent addition to any library of Oldie music with room for classic Northern Soul. -George O'Leary

The excellent Chicago Twine Time is the first in a series of compilations spotlighting the output of One-derful and its subsidiaries Mar-V-Lus and M-pac, the family of soul labels founded in late 1962 by producer George Leaner. A product of Mississippi, Leaner's tastes reflected an earthier, more distinctively southern flavor than the uptown soul approach favored by his labels' Windy City rivals -- the result was a string of superb raw soul singles that remain favorites at Northern soul clubs to this day, decades after Leaner closed up shop in 1968. At 28 tracks Chicago Twine Time includes roughly half of Mar-V-Lus' total output, including Alvin Cash's cult-classic "Twine Time," Cicero Blake's "Sad Feeling," and Josephine Taylor's "Ain't Gonna Cry No More." Sound quality varies wildly, with original vinyl copies obviously sourced for some entries -- also, given that Mar-V-Lus issued only 21 total singles during its existence, it's a shame Charly didn't just opt for an all-inclusive, two-disc set, especially since a few cuts here first appeared on Leaner's other labels. Still, the music is consistently excellent, and aficionados of rare soul are advised to check this out regardless of its flaws. -AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

1. Twine Time - Alvin Cash & The Crawlers - # 4 R&B/# 14 Billboard Pop Hot 100 Jan-Feb 1965 - Mar-V-Lus 6002;
2. With Out You - The Ultimations - Mar-V-Lus 6020 - 1967 (see also track 25);
3. What Is Love? - Josephine Taylor - Mar-V-Lus 6013 - 1966;
4. Joey - The Young Folk - Mar-V-Lus 6018 - 1967 (see also track 13);
5. Shake A Tail Feather - The Five Du-Tones - # 28 R&B/# 51 Hot 100 July 1963 - One-Derful 4815;
6. Please Forgive Me - The Du-Ettes - One-Derful 4827 - 1965;
7. The Barracuda - Alvin Cash & The Crawlers - # 29 R&B/# 55 Hot 100 April-May 1965 - Mar-V-Lus 6005;
8. Ain't Gonna Cry No More - Josephine Taylor - Mar-V-Lus 6017 - 1967 (see also track 18);
9. You Told A Lie - Johnny Sayles - Mar-V-Lus 6000 - 1965 (see also track 16);
10. Every Beat Of My Heart - The Du-Ettes - Mar-V-Lus 6003 - 1965;
11. Your Love Has Got Me Down - The Blenders - Mar-V-Lus 6010 - 1965 (see also track 17); 12. Tell Me Where I Stand - Johnny Sayles (prev. unreleased);
13. Lonely Girl - The Young Folk - flipside of track 4;
14. I Still Can't Get You - Joseph Moore - Mar-V-Lus 6008 - 1965 - see also track 23);
15. Sad Feeling - Cicero Blake - Mar-V-Lus 6004 - 1965;
16. Don't Turn Your Back On Me - Johnny Sayles - flipside of track 9;
17. Love Is A Good Thing Goin' - The Blenders - flipside of track 11;
18. Ordinary Guy - Josephine Taylor - flipside of track 8;
19. You Did Me Wrong - Johnny Sayles - Mar-V-Lus 6001 - 1965 (see also track 26);
20. My World - The Five Du-Tones (prev. unreleased);
21. The Girl I Love - Johnny Sayles (prev. unreleased);
22. Please Change Your Mind - The Five Du-Tones - One-Derful 4811 - 1963;
23. I'm Lost Without You - Joseph Moore - flipside of track 14;
24. Behave Yourself - Miss Madeline - Mar-V-Lus 6019 - 1967;
25. Would I Do It Over? - The Ultimations - flipside of track 2;
26. Got You On My Mind - Johnny Sayles (flipside of track 19);
27. I'm Gonna Love You - The Du-Ettes - M-Pac 7214 - 1964;
28. Outside The Record Hop (Trying To Get In) - The Five Du-Tones - One-Derful 4836 - 1966.

Note
Incl. booklet

USA

Of all the recordings that bluegrass trailblazers the Stanley Brothers made in their 20 years together, their early Rich-R-Tone cuts are some of the hardest to find-and most exciting. These are essential for any bluegrass collector: Little Maggie; The Jealous Lover; Our Darling's Gone; Death Is Only a Dream; Little Birdie; The Rambler's Blues; The Girl Behind the Bar , and more!

Finally, the Stanleys' very first--and very scarce, even when they were initially issued--14 sides return to circulation. The brothers had been together just six months when they signed with the Johnson City, Tennessee, Rich-R-Tone label; their initial efforts are built around old-time, even archaic, mountain harmonies à la the Monroe Brothers and the Carter Family plus Ralph's two-fingered banjo style. By 1952, his three-fingered technique was in place and the Stanleys were the first group following in the footsteps of Bill Monroe's fully realized bluegrass sound. You can hear the evolution here, including two versions of "Little Glass of Wine" (their first "hit"), the strange combination of tensed and relaxed on "Our Darling's Gone," and such breathtaking romps as "Are You Waiting for Me," "Molly and Tenbrook," and "Little Birdie." Carter's warm leads and Ralph's rugged harmonies got even better with time, of course, but with the youthful exuberance they bring to this material, they're already capable of sometimes chilling you to the bone. --John Morthland

Fifty years ago, the Stanley Brothers -- Ralph, Carter and company -- made their recording debut. One of the first tracks they committed to posterity was an as-of-then unreleased Bill Monroe composition called "Molly and Tenbrook". Just a few bars into the song, someone -- one of the Stanleys, presumably -- lets out a loud, irrepressible yelp. It's a startling sound, and struck genuine fear in this writer upon initial listening. I recall hearing a similar sound as a child when my mother accidentally ran over our wire-haired terrier, Lucy, while backing out of the driveway.

But the yelp on "Molly and Tenbrook" was borne of something deeper than pain; deeper, in fact, than any reflex can account for. As hindsight proves, it was a clarion call heralding the arrival of bluegrass as a definable, formidable art form. The seeds had been planted in 1940 by Monroe himself, but eight years on they could scarcely be contained any longer. With that one yelp, bluegrass blossomed.

As is the case with most musical forms, it wasn't the innovators as much as the interpreters of those innovations who validated and popularized bluegrass. Bill Malone explains in his definitive book Country Music U.S.A. that "the bluegrass 'sound' did not become a 'style' until other musical organizations began copying the instrumental and vocal traits first featured in Bill Monroe's performances. The Stanley Brothers' recording of 'Molly and Tenbrooks' [sic] is the first direct evidence that musicians were copying the sound of [Monroe's] original bluegrass band."

The irony here is that while "Molly and Tenbrook" may be the Stanleys' most historically significant recording, Ralph and Carter actually didn't have much to do with it. Ralph shied away from taking the lead vocal at the session, owing to his inexperience at the time, and Carter's deep baritone was deemed inappropriate for the song's pitch and pace. Instead, vocals were delegated to Pee-Wee Lambert, who also provided his own mandolin accompaniment. The song was peppered with banjo and fiddle breaks (the former played by Ralph, the latter by Art Wooten), and that was It. And It was good.

"Molly and Tenbrook" is one of 14 tracks compiled on The Stanley Brothers' Earliest Recordings: The Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s (1947-1952). Based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Rich-R-Tone was a label of great regional renown in the '40s that counted not only the Stanleys but Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Carl Sauceman, the Bailey Brothers and Buffalo Johnson among its stable of artists. After a long hiatus, the label has recently been resurrected under the manufacturing and distribution auspices of John Fahey's new Revenant imprint. Though not even a year old, Revenant already boasts one of the most aggressively eclectic rosters in recent memory. The label is dedicated to the preservation of "raw musics," an intentionally vague term that has afforded Revenant the breadth to issue recordings by the Stanleys, Cecil Taylor, Derek Bailey and Jim O'Rourke with nary a hint of contradiction.

The Stanleys' Rich-R-Tone sides were recorded over four sessions. The first three were at radio station WOPI in Bristol, Virginia, between 1947 and '48; the last was at WLSI in Pikesville, Kentucky, in 1952. Because these sessions predated tape recording altogether, all sides were (literally) cut straight to disc.

These technological limitations, and the Stanleys' own technical shortcomings (in 1947 Ralph and Carter were fresh out of the service and had been leading their own group for only six months), make their Rich-R-Tone sides sound archaic, even naive at times. The Stanleys would cultivate their songwriting talents while cutting for Columbia Records in the early '50s and would reach an absolute creative peak during their tenure with Mercury Records in the middle and late '50s.

But like the early works of the Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan (all of whom, to a certain degree, were descended from the Stanleys), these Rich-R-Tone sides do more than document a seminal group in its nascent stages. They raised the bar for all of the Stanleys' peers and gave the first glimpse of a burgeoning new artform -- one that, like the Stanleys themselves, was rapidly outgrowing its trad, old-timey roots and striking out in completely uncharted directions.

Historical import aside, Earliest Recordings boasts some seriously hot tracks, complemented by the Stanleys' dizzying chops and their knack for heart-wrenching lyrical imagery. Death and drink, and the intersection of the two, are the predominating themes of the Stanleys' early repertoire. "The Girl Behind the Bar" and "Little Maggie" both examine these themes, but neither as effectively as "The Little Glass Of Wine" (the released version and an alternate take are included on Earliest Recordings). A Shakespearean tale of drunken jealousy, murderous rage and suicidal reckoning, it's macabre to the core. It was also the Stanleys' first hit.

The content was a bummer, but the playing was sublime. Though vocally gun-shy, Ralph was already emulating the traditional two-finger and the Earl Scruggs-inspired three-finger styles of banjo playing with great authority. And Lambert and Wooten -- both of whom were alums of Monroe's Blue Grass Boys -- contributed clean, swift mandolin and fiddle, respectively. In a few years, the group would be greater than the sum of its parts, but Earliest Recordings offers a fascinating glimpse at those parts coalescing. Upon hearing these Rich-R-Tone sides, Alan Lomax called them "folk music with overdrive." He was right. -Matt Hanks

1. Molly And Tenbrook 2:24
2. The Rambler's Blues 2:46
3. Mother No Longer Awaits Me At Home 2:43
4. The Girl Behind The Bar 2:16
5. Little Maggie 2:19
6. The Little Glass Of Wine 3:07
7. Our Darling's Gone 2:12
8. The Jealous Lover 2:12
9. I Can Tell You The Time 2:09
10. Little Birdie 1:57
11. Little Glass Of Wine (Alt. Version) 2:56
12. Death In Only A Dream 2:21
13. Little Girl And The Dreadful Snake 3:04
14. Are You Waiting Just For Me? 2:16

AKA

Notes
Tracks: 1, 2 recorded mid 1948.
Tracks: 3, 4, 9, 12 recorded early 1947.
Tracks: 5, 6, 7, 8 recorded late 1947 or early 1948.
Tracks: 10, 11, 13, 14 recorded mid 1952.

Nigeria

Sir Victor Uwaifo was the first Nigerian to win a Golden Record, a tribute which marks out his remarkable musical achievements. Ekassa, first released in the early 1970s, features the maestro's inventive guitar work and own uniquely funky articulations of indegenous dance rhythms. Enjoy the timeless Uwaifo sound lovingly remastered to perfection.

Terffific stuff. Uwaifo kinda dubbed up highlife and a lot of folk stuff on his early '70s albums, removing the exaggeratedly "pleasant" horn sections and replacing them with some sharp as fuck guitar playing. It's all pretty rough and rockin' but Sir Victor is definitely not aping his American contemporaries here; the second song already features a goddamn flute solo! "Melody Maestros" is such a great name for this band because it's like "something for everyone, our folk melodies sound like James Brown!". -StonedWallaby

1. Ebibi (Ekassa N° 28) 5:21
2. Igiodo-Giodo (Ekassa N° 34) 6:43
3. Isede (Ekassa N° 31) 4:00
4. Votumamuoga (Ekassa N° 32) 3:23
5. Aiworo (Ekassa N° 25) 2:31
6. Ame´Sihion-Segbe (Ekassa N° 36) 5:08
7. Kirikisi (Ekassa N° 24) 4:01
8. Akhuankhuan (Ekassa N° 26) 5:45
9. Sumwensowa (Ekassa N° 35) 3:47
10. Osulelemule (Ekassa N° 29) 3:07

Uruguay

All twenty-two tracks by these Uruguayan legends, whose line-up includes members of Totem and Limonada, and features the compositional abilities of candombe legend Ruben Rada, and his alter-ego, poet/panhandler and acid casualty Eduardo Mateo. El Kinto began their brief but eventful life in music playing in the dark shadows at Orfeo Negro (Black Orpheus), a night club near the Portones de Carrasco in Montevideo, Uruguay. Inspired by the way the Tropicalistas like Os Mutantes were transforming the pop music of Brazil, El Kinto embraced their own native music forms—but, as always, they went a step further: yes, they integrated candombe and bossa nova into beat music, but they also added their own notion of “psicodelics.” They experimented with newness in all its variety—new sounds from their guitars, new types of vocal delivery, new ways of striking the drums (with little brooms, with gavels or with the hands), all very uncommon in rock music.

As one journalist noted in 1969, “El Kinto, directed by the brilliant Mateo, and amplified to the maximum… creates a frenzy of rhythmic music in which—with force and conviction—pure wave ‘beat’ is synthesized with the warmth of the African drums.” The result of the group’s tireless experiments is music which sounds fresh and engaging today. In a world dominated by the commercialization of everything—including (although it is difficult to comprehend)—the arts, all we can say is, thank god for El Kinto!

The Kinto is widely recognized as a pioneer in executing Candombe with electrical instruments, congas, drums, and also create songs sung in Spanish language. The “Candombe-Beat” as defined them, was a mix of psychedelic rock, candombe, Brazilian music and other genres. They were characterized by an innovative spirit, excellent musical arrangements and the voices of Mateo and Rada, also Urbano and Walter. They did not formally reached to record an album, which is surprising, the existing editions were recovered from recordings for some television appearances……

An incredible collection of work by El Kinto – a short-lived but crucially important group in the Uruguay rock scene of the late 60s – finally given their due in this overstuffed deluxe CD package. El Kinto were a seminal link between the beat group sounds of the earlier South American scene, and some of the headier, tripper work to come in the psychedelic years – and their music was an unusual blend of local roots and more ambitious rock – served up in styles that were somewhat different than the candombe music of other artists on the scene. Core rock instrumentation was often augmented by a bit of Latin percussion – used in a way that created a nicely earthy feel at the bottom of most of the tunes, which was in contrast to the cleaner, but also somewhat spare use of guitars on the top. There's a criss-crossing sensibility here that's not unlike Brazilian Tropicalia at times – although clearly not as politically motivated, nor as culturally radical – and what really blows us away about these tunes is the overall sense of sound – a simple, but extremely effective placement of all the simplest elements, to create music without easy comparison (even though we've been trying for the last few lines!) Group members include percussionist Ruben Rada and South American rock legend Eduardo Mateo -Dusty Groove

1. Muy Lejos Te Vas 3:29
2. Esa Tristeza 2:26
3. Suena Blanca Espuma 2:38
4. Estoy Sin Ti 3:00
5. Don Pascual 3:13
6. Damelo 3:19
7. Que Me Importa 2:24
8. Voy Pensando 2:48
9. Ni Me Puedes Ver 2:47
10. Principe Azul 2:29
11. Jose 3:05
12. Mejor Me Voy 2:13
13. Siempre Vas 2:45
14. Musica De La Pelicula Del Mismo Nombre 3:12
15. Yo Volvere Por Ti 2:32
16. Pippo 3:45
17. Como El Brillo Del Sol (Like The Sunshine) (The Knights) 2:34
18. Tu (You) (The Knights) 2:08
19. La Felicita (Aldo y Daniel con El Kinto) 2:19
20. La Aldea (Aldo y Daniel con El Kinto) 2:51
21. Penas De Sal (Roberta Lee con El Kinto) 2:44
22. Pata Pata (Roberta Lee con El Kinto) 3:07

Niger

Early Bombino...Dig The Camels!!!

Group Bombino is the latest salvo from the Agadez music scene. Led by the guitar virtuoso Omara Mochtar (Bombino), the group’s debut CD-- Volume two in the Guitars from Agadez series, represents the latest chapter in the modern sound of the Tuareg revolution. As of 2008, the Tuareg rebellion is in full force again, and Bombino is in exile to parts unknown. Agadez has been cut off from the rest of Niger. The only road that connects this legendary city with the rest of the country is littered with land mines and the only escorts are the military. This music and its messages of hope, justice, and desire for validation of the Kel Tamachek way of life ring louder than ever. Group Bombino are gaining mythic status in and around the Tuareg community for their incendiary live performances. Coming from the same scene as Group Inerane and sharing some of the same musicians, Group Bombino showcase both sides of the Tuareg Guitar style. The first half features the “Dry Guitar” sound, an unplugged selection of songs sung among the dunes and stars of the Tenere desert. The second half showcases the electric fury of the full band, a melding of heavy, psychedelic guitar heroics with a raw garage sound, back beat percussion, all swirling in extended trance rock moves. Recorded live and unfiltered in Agadez and the surrounding desert in early 2007, with the band’s equipment powered by generators and an unflinching dedication to the rebellion, Group Bombino’s music transcends any influence and ignites the raw passion of its message to the outside world. (NG)

Let's face it: Tinariwen are a bit too Jools Holland for their own good these days (sellouts, the lot of them), so it's time to pick a new favourite Tuareg rock band. Look no further - Sublime Frequencies have cast a spotlight on this band from Agadez in northern Niger, and they're rather special. Led by guitar maestro Omara Mochtar, the band demonstrate two sides to their art on this CD: the first half is filled with acoustic, folksy compositions, recorded intimately, while the second half reveals the band's full force, drawing parallels with bluesy American garage rock and wild six-string psychedelics. Tremendous. -Boomkat 

Spurred on in part by the general rise of West and North African music on the world circuit (and perhaps more closely the rise of Malian Tuareg band Tinariwen), Sublime Frequencies' Music from Niger does an outstanding job of showing both the old and the new in music from the desert. The first half of the album is a stunning set of guitar and vocal music extraordinarily similar to some of the best parts of Ali Farka Touré's catalog, but with some running commentary from young Omara Mochtar (Bombino) and a few camels. Perhaps the main difference between Group Bombino's acoustic set and that of the Malian greats is the accompanying clapping -- taking a note from the North African sound (and perhaps the Gnawa sect more specifically), the group claps sharply and relentlessly, mimicking the qaraqebs essential to some of the North African styles. When the band turns electric in the second half of the album, the difference is surprising. Not just an amplification of the desert sound they had been fostering, the electric Tuareg sound is psychedelic, dense. The rhythms are similar, the melodies are similar, but there's a massive backdrop of funk and rock. The clapping is replaced with a trap drum; the shouted lyrics get lost behind a swirl of feedback and guitar solos. Mochtar gets a chance to show off a firm passion in his playing here as well -- the sound isn't clean, the recordings are a little hazy, but the intensity of Mochtar's playing is incredible. -AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg

1. Tenere 4:13
2. Imuhar 5:28
3. Kamoutalia 5:14
4. Amidinine 4:36
5. Boghassa 4:03
6. Imouhare 4:04
7. Issitchilane 3:56
8. Kamu Telyat 3:54
9. Eronafene Tihoussayene 4:53

Notes
Tracks 1 to 4 from Group Bombino archives.
Tracks 5 to 9 recorded live in Agadez, Niger in February, 2007.

San Antonio, Texas

The Royal Jesters were originally a crew of friends from Sidney Lanier High School in the heart of San Antonio’s west side, honing their harmonies around dartboards and church talent shows in a series of unsteady pick-up groups. Doo-wop, when it hit, crossed boundaries of ethnicity and class like no music had since jazz, finding its way from African-American neighborhoods in Philly to Italian kids in Jersey to Mexican-Americans in Texas. “They were the first Hispanics that actually did doo-wop,” said organist Luvine Elias Jr., who was 15 when he joined the group with a borrowed instrument. “They used to do doo-wop, vocals with no band, just like the blacks on the corner. Before that, they were doing mariachi stuff.”

Formed in ’58 by Mike Pedraza, Oscar Lawson, Henry Hernandez, and Louis Escalante—the boys were all either freshly graduated or completing their senior year at Lanier—the group’s first order of business was choosing a doo-wop-appropriate name. “Well during that time there was the Royal Days, royal this, royal that. A couple of us said, ‘Let’s call it the Royals,’” said Henry Hernandez. Others said, “‘No, let’s call it the Jesters,’ … that’s how we came up with the name.” Fully formed and perfectly compromised, the group took to playing school dances, talent shows, and hops at clubs and churches, including Blessed Sacrament, St. Francis, St. Anthony Ballroom, and the Imperial Ballroom. (NG)

From the '50s to the '70s, The Royal Jesters were one of San Antonio's most requested soul outfits. Here's the group rehearsing at Municipal Auditorium (left to right: Oscar Lawson, Louie Escalante, Henry Hernandez, Dimas Garza).
Digging in flea market bins and scouring the digital marketplace, Rae D. Cabello is on the prowl for the dusty soul hits of San Antonio's West Side Sound.

"In 2005, I really started buying up these records," Cabello told the San Antonio Current. "I thought it was a cool thing. This is from San Antonio. This is badass. In the same way that screwed music is to Houston, I was down for the West Side Sound as a San Antonio thing."

With square-rim black frames on his square face, Cabello is lit with the passion of a collector grabbing a body of art from the sands of time. After swapping messages with the founders of Chicago reissue label Numero Group, Cabello became the head researcher for the label's next San Antonio project: English Oldies, a compendium of the Royal Jesters.

At Hi-Tones on Saturday (June 23 nationally), Numero will release "28 tracks of heartbreakers," as Cabello calls them. On vinyl or CD, English Oldies follows the long and elaborate career of the San Anto hunnies, from their days in the halls of Lanier High School to the polyester funk of the Chicanismo '70s.

Apart from the soul food taste of the recordings, one of the most exciting parts of the West Side Sound is its fusion of Chicano and African-American identity. Brown kids playing black music, documented on 45s by local microlabels with brilliant, candy-colored decals.

"No where in the world has a regional style of R&B music like San Antonio," said Alex LaRotta, who penned his master's dissertation at Texas State University on the West Side Sound. "Period. And it was so vast — there are countless recordings and independent labels which sustained this unique culture for so long."

It's called the West Side Sound, but the movement's roots lay on the other side of town. In the '40s and '50s, the East Side housed a few spots on the Chitlin Circuit, the constellation of venues in America booking African-American blues and rock 'n' roll artists.

"Eastwood Country Club, Keyhole Club, Ebony Lounge — these were clubs that fostered this unique intercultural mixing of blacks, whites and Hispanics during the era of Jim Crow," LaRotta said.

At these racially integrated clubs, a rarity in Texas at the time, young San Anto musicians learned from the touring masters, or sat in with local legend Spot Barnett for a real-time education.

"San Antonio musicians would be in the audience and learn rhythm and blues listening to Bobby Bland and all these guys that were coming through," said Ruben Molina, author of Chicano Soul. "Doug Sahm, Randy Garibay, Joe Jama [of the Jesters], Sunny [Ozuna]'s musicians were all there learning."

For the musicians too young to hit the bars, the radio offered an education on the dial. Between the long programming of conjunto, norteño and orquesta, DJs slipped in a few hours of doo-wop and rock 'n' roll. Sunny Ozuna, the reigning King of San Anto Soul, dubbed the hours "English oldies," from which the Numero reissue takes its name.

"The radio stations that played Spanish music had what they called 'English oldies,'" Ozuna noted in the album's liner notes. "The deejay would play the Spanish songs but then he would pick some English oldies to add to that so we all grew up listening to our stuff."

Soon enough, bands like Sunny and the Sunglows, Mando and the Chili Peppers and Rudy and the Reno Bops popped up in the fertile ground of the West Side. As these names suggest, many of the bands had an undisputed leader singing at the front mic, with a rotation of backing players filling the rhythm section and busting tertiary harmonies.

In 1958, in the halls of Sidney Lanier High School just west of downtown, the Royal Jesters were cast in a different mold. With no single name claiming the marquee, the Jesters borrowed from the close harmonies of Mexican crooners.

"We based our harmonies on the Mexican trios like Los Tres Diamantes, Los Tres Aces and Los Panchos, which were very similar to the group harmony sound we were listening to on the radio," founding Jester Oscar Lawson said in the liner notes.

"The Royal Jesters' background comes from their parents' records by Mexican trios, three-part harmonies sung in Spanish," added Molina. "Take that and you get the foundation of the Royal Jesters. But then you bring in the harmonies from the black artists and you're able to create this sound."

Formed by Oscar Lawson, Henry Hernandez, Louie Escalante and Mike Pedraza, the Royal Jesters tried their simple, lovebird songs at the sockhops and school dances of the day.

"Between classes in school, they'd get together and sing in the hallway," said Cabello. "Girls would just swoon. They were heartbreakers. They were desperately in love with their girlfriends. And there were so many girls in love with those guys."

Eager to make it to the next level, the Jesters began writing their own material.

"All the groups, they wrote all their own stuff so we figured that's the way it must be," Henry Hernandez told the Current.

In 1959, the band cut a 45 on San Antonio's Harlem Records and shipped it out to regional press. The single, 1959's "My Angel of Love," found a good home at KMAC in the hands of radio impresario DJ Joe "The Godfather" Anthony.

The Royal Jesters in action.                     
Of all the tastemakers in San Antonio music history, The Godfather may have had the greatest impact on the city's rock 'n' roll palate. In the late '60s and '70s, Anthony picked up on the heavy sound coming out of industrial England, helping to shape San Antonio as a metal market, a title that stands to this day. But in '59, Anthony was on a local kick, spinning the Jesters' single into oblivion.

After the radio boost from the Godfather, the Royal Jesters signed a deal with Abe Epstein's Cobra and Jox labels. A real estate mogul by trade, Epstein was South Texas' most pervasive music industry player. In a true collector's crate, you won't have to look too long before running across a 45 for an Epstein producer or publisher credit.

A 1962 Cobra single, "I Never Will Forget," found its way out of the bin and onto English Oldies. With Epstein helping out on a backing harmony, the cut is loaded with shoo-be-doo backgrounds and an American Graffiti feel — with the band cruising to the fruteria instead of the drive-in.

Like so many moguls in his stead, Esptein could make you popular, but he wouldn't make you rich. Despite scoring a few regional hits, the sales never trickled down to the Jesters.

"We never got any money for none of these other recordings," Hernandez said in the liner notes. "Nobody ever paid anybody. So we said, 'let's do it on our own.'"

In 1964, the same year the Jesters created their Clown and Jester imprints, the band made a sea change in the rhythm section. Since the beginning, the Jesters hired the instrumental guns to fill out the band. Now, for the first time, the band picked up full-time instrumentalists to populate the Royal sound. With a boisterous, tight horn section and Luvine Elias, Jr. on the organ, the Jesters' reign in San Antonio was set.

"They were the local band," said Molina. "With his bands, Sunny Ozuna spent 10 years on the road. The one that never really left San Antonio, that was really a San Antonio band, was the Royal Jesters."

The Jesters even ran a dance hall, Patio Andaluz. At the corner of Colorado and Commerce, the Jesters held a lovestruck Chicano court for three years.

This middle period of the English Oldies catalog is some of the sweetest and most prominent stuff from the band.

On "We Go Together," the Jesters sing, naturally, of stuff that goes together, trying to a woo a girl into going steady. Warm chords and heart-piercing horns lay down the first date setting, under the convincing, fluttering melody.

In the 1970s, Chicano musicians faced a dilemma of identity. Rise with the tide of cultural pride or fall to the dregs of popular music. Led by coastal powerhouses like Santana and the Fania All-Stars, the wave of Latin rock and funk swept up the Jesters and many of the West Side Sound bands.

"The West Side Sound reflects these social changes in the song titles, messages, and iconography of the era," said LaRotta. "The Royal Jesters' Yo Soy Chicano and Sunny and the Sunliners' Young, Gifted, and Brown are good examples of this cultural turn in San Anto — when Mexican-American youth were proudly self-identifying as Chicanos." 

On English Oldies, tunes like "Afro-lypso" and "Spanish Grease" pop up, doubling the tempo of the laid back soul of the '60s. Boogaloo guitar rhythms and a Latin rock backbeat dominate the Jesters' funk, with the frontline switching over to Spanglish.

But like the constructive movement of Chicano pride, the Royal Jesters couldn't avoid the problems of the 1970s. After a strong run in the early decade, the oil embargo of 1973 slowed the Jesters' momentum to a crawl.

"It was Valentine's Day of 1977," Hernandez said in the liner notes. "That's when we stopped performing ... At that time, gasoline was starting to go up, that's when they had shortages in gas at service stations and stuff like that ... A lot of the groups we toured with, they started to slow down and break up because it was getting a little hard to travel."

Nearly two decades after they toyed with the hearts of Lanier High School, the Royal Jesters were done.

Almost 40 years later, Cabello, dressed in the monochrome of a graphic designer (Rae does in-house art for RackSpace), is one of the DJs in town spinning the West Side Sound back into the ear of the young barfly. In recent years, with upstarts Chulita Vinyl Club, Alamo City Soul Club, Faust's 45 Friday and Tuckers' long standing Soul Spot, the West Side Sound is a known entity in young San Anto.

"The Sound never went away," said Cabello. "When Salute was around, Azeneth was playing the Jesters and Sunny. The West Side Horns have been doing their thing for years. Ram would have that on in the jukebox in Taco Land. It never left."

With the Jesters reissue — the third LP in Numero's catalog dedicated to San Antonio — the West Side Sound is back in high fidelity for all to take in.

At Faust, more and more people come up and request, 'hey do you have the Royal Jesters?" said Cabello. "Fuck yeah I do!" -Matt Stieb

1. So Much in Love 2:30
2. Im Gonna Run 2:13
3. I Want You Around 2:10
4. No More 2:20
5. Just Cant Please You 2:27
6. Please Say You Want Me 1:55
7. Happy Ever After 1:48
8. Is That Good Enough for You? 2:40
9. I Know I Know 2:58
10. If You Love Me (Really Love Me) 2:50
11. Sing a Song for Peace 3:05
12. Gee Whiz 2:29

USA

A dig deep into the Archive for a selection of historical country recordings, some from as early as 1925.

This compilation brings to light some of the lesser-known artists to record for Victor in the 1920s and 30s. Few reached the commercial heights of Jimmie Rodgers & the Carter Family, but the Victor label was also busy making records featuring other artists such as Jilson Setters (Bill Day), Hiter Colvin, Red Patterson’s Piedmont Log Rollers, the Moonshiners, the Carolina Twins, Dempson & Denmon Lewis, Pope’s Arkansas Mountaineers and others including the Tennessee Mountaineers and Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Baker (both of who featured cousins of the Carter Family). These recordings date from 1925-1930.

1. Hiter Colvin - Monroe Stomp 3:03
2. Jack Cawley's Oklahoma Ridge Runners - White River Stomp 2:50
3. Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers - The White Rose 2:42
4. The Moonshiners - [Fulton County 3:02
5. Judge Sturdy's Orchestra - One Snowy Night (Quadrille) 3:03
6. The Moonshiners - Shelby County 3:01
7. Carolina Twins - Your Wagon Needs Greasing 3:07
8. Jack Cawley's Oklahoma Ridge Runners - The Dawn Waltz 2:18
9. Tennessee Mountaineers - Standing On The Promises 2:38
10. Dempson & Denmon Lewis - Caliope 2:43
11. Johnson Brothers (Paul & Charles) - Just A Message From Carolina 3:04
12. Bill Helms & His Upson County Band - Rosco Trillion 3:11
13. Mellie Dunham's Orchestra - Mountain Rangers 3:17
14. Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers - Big Ball Uptown 2:42
15. Gwen Foster - Black Pine Waltz 3:24
16. Johnson Brothers (Paul & Charles) - The Soldier's Poor Little Boy 2:36
17. Jilson Setters (aka J.W. Day) - Black-Eyed Susie 3:12
18. Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Baker - On The Banks Of The Sunny Tennessee 3:06
19. Jilson Setters (aka J.W. Day) - Forked Deer 3:18
20. Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers - Where The Sweet Magnolias Bloom 2:45
21. Judge Sturdy's Orchestra - Old Dan Tucker (Country Dance) 2:59
22. Mellie Dunham's Orchestra - Medley Of Reels 3:01
23. Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers - Birmingham 3:12
24. Mr. & Mrs. J.W. Baker - The Newmarket Wreck 2:57

Delightful eclectic mix of historic 1920s/30s 'country roots' music from a great variety of talented bands, 23 performances in all.

The Brunwick-Balke-Collender Company was responsible for some of the finest Old Time Country Music ever issued. Until ARC eventually swallowed up the company in the early 1930s, their Brunswick and Vocalion catalogue boasted many of the classic recordings of the genre.

Many of these performances were recorded at two mammoth field trips in Knoxville, KY in 1929 and 1930. These sessions were the subject of a lengthy article by Charles Wolfe in Tony Russell’s Old Time Music magazine, issue 12 in 1974, sadly now out of print but worth searching out a copy.

These recordings date from 1928-1934.

The British Archive of Country Music label continues to put out some very nice re-issues, and this is one of the best so far, as someone has done a superior job in selecting the 23 tracks—all of which are worthy of re-issue with many being exceptional performances. Taken from old 78rpm records of the late 1920s and early 30s, the sound quality is quite good too, though there is not much in the way of notes here. Some of the best cuts have already appeared on County or Yazoo CDs, but there are plenty of great pieces here, and the concept gives the listener a good overview of Vocalion’s excellent 5000 series (there are also a couple of tracks from the mid-30s 02500 series, namely My Baby Keep Stealin' On Me by Walker’s Corbin Ramblers and Go 'Way And Let Me Sleep by Ashley & Foster). There are wonderful tunes by Reaves’ White County Ramblers, Ridgel’s Fountain Citians, Carroll County Revelers, and the fascinating Perry County Music Makers. Also Alex Hood & His Railroad Boys, Fisher Hendley’s Carolina Tar Heels (Hook And Line), and 2 great songs by Bascom Lunsford (Lost John Dean and Italy), and a charming Blue Eyed Boy by the Morris Family.

1. Reaves White County Ramblers - Arkansas Wagner 2:48
2. Fisher Hendley & His Carolina Tar Heels - Hook And Line 2:56
3. Perry County Music Makers - Got A Buddy I Must See 3:09
4. Reaves White County Ramblers - Arkansas Pullet 3:09
5. Southern Moonlight Entertainers - Buckin' Mule 2:32
6. Ridgel's Fountain Citians - Gittin' Upstairs 2:48
7. Southern Moonlight Entertainers - Lost John 2:26
8. Southern Moonlight Entertainers - My Cabin Home 2;27
9. Alex Hood & His Railroad Boys - Corbin Slide 2:48
10. Milner & Curtis Magnolia Ramblers - North East Texas Breakdown 2:33
11. Ashley & Foster - Go 'Way And Let Me Sleep 2:50
12. Cal Davenport & His Gang - Broken Hearted Lover 2:35
13. Perry County Music Makers - By The Cottage Door 2:39
14. Bascom Lamar Lunsford - Lost John Dean 2:42
15. Cal Davenport & His Gang - Blue Ridge Mountain Blues 2:36
16. Louis Bird - Nothing Goes Hard With Me 3:03
17. Morris Family - Blue Eyed Boy 3:13
18. Ridgel's Fountain Citians - The Bald Headed End Of The Broom 3:10
19. Floyd Thompson's Hometowners - Mountains Of Virginia 3:12
20. Carroll County Revelers - Rome, Georgia Bound 3:05
21. Carroll County Revelers - Georgia Wobble Blues 3:19
22. Bascom Lamar Lunsford - Italy 3:24
23. Walker's Corbin Ramblers - My Baby Keep Stealin' On Me 3:05

Jamaica

Radiation Roots present a reissue of Dillinger's Answer Me Question, originally released in 1977. Trained in the art of deejay toasting by the legendary Dennis Alcapone, Lester Bulllock initially called himself Alcapone Junior, until maverick record producer Lee 'Scratch' Perry renamed him Dillinger in the early 1970s, following his success on a west Kingston sound system called Smith the Weapon, based in the ghetto of Payne Avenue. Perry cut Dillinger's first dozen tracks, and there was early work for other producers such as Prince Tony, Augustus Pablo, Enos McLeod, and Phil Pratt; then, Dillinger's debut album, Ready Natty Dreadie (1975), was a local hit for Studio One, but the CB200 set for Island catapulted him to international prominence. Yet, the Dillinger material with the roughest edge was always produced by Bunny 'Striker' Lee, as this LP, Answer My Question, so amply demonstrates. First issued in the Netherlands on the Scramble label in 1977, it shows Dillinger on fearsome form, his relaxed rhyming toasts tackling sound system matters, the Rastafari lifestyle, action movie subplots, the highs and lows of romantic relationships, the need to help the less fortunate, and other burning issues of the day with biting wit and verbal dexterity, all delivered over tough Aggrovators rhythms - including an unusual cut of the "Three Piece Suit" rhythm.

1. Answer Me Question 3:18
2. Natty Dread A De Ruler 3:49
3. Fernando Sancho 3:56
4. Leggo Violence 2:50
5. Lier Linda 3:01
6. Everybody Girl 4:02
7. Three Piece Suit And Thing 4:16
8. Tickle Me Girl 3:56
9. The Fool And His Money 3:26
10. Babylon Leggo Jah Children 3:37

Extra
Dillinger - Cornbread / I Thirst - Part Two (12'' Vinyl)

A Cornbread 7:40
B I Thirst - Part Two 4:32

Notes
Mixed and engineered at King Tubby's Studio Kingston Jamaica.
Producer – Bunny Lee

USA

 
Frank Hutchison: The best of the pre-war white bluesmen

Almost everything Frank Hutchison recorded can be found on this disc (the rest is collected on Old-Time Music From West Virginia). Because of this, Volume 1: 1926-1929 presents the most complete picture of the type of performer he was and the sort of material he performed. A singer, guitarist, and harmonica player, his repertoire included bottleneck showcases, fingerpicked rags, and old-time dance numbers. In Hutchison's time, such versatility was an advantage, improving chances for work and a longer recording life. Much of the material here was fairly conventional for the time. Typical of even the most successful performers, Hutchison wasn't afraid to rework a tune slightly and call it a new composition. "The West Virginia Rag" is just an instrumental version of "Coney Isle," while a similar backing is used again on "Old Rachel." His original take on the story of the Titanic, however, is the sort of thing that could occasionally place him above his contemporaries. "The Last Scene of the Titanic" is almost cinematic, managing to capture the optimism of both the crew ("How's your machinery?/All right!/How's your compass?/Still on New York!") and passengers. He continually returns to scenes of people dancing, breaking in and out of dance rhythms on guitar for effect. Hutchison's story leads up to the ship's wreck, choosing to leave out the tragedy that follows. Volume 1 is also notable for the inclusion of at least three classic folk-country-blues songs. "Worried Blues" is a fantastic slide guitar performance recorded at his very first session. Strangely, as the liner notes point out, after that first date, Okeh seemed just as satisfied having Hutchison record more forgettable material like "C&O Excursion" (a novelty song with Hutchison imitating train sounds on his harmonica) and "Long Way to Tipperary" (an innocuous dance piece). Also recorded that first day, however, was "Train That Carried the Girl From Town," one of his best compositions (later a staple for Doc Watson). The song would be paired with "Worried Blues" as a single for Okeh. There is also a rendition of the "Stackalee" legend. The story had been told by everyone from Furry Lewis to Mississippi John Hurt (and would continue to fascinate everyone from Neil Diamond to Nick Cave). Harry Smith would choose Hutchison's version for his Anthology of American Folk Music. Following the label's standard format, all the songs on Document's Volume 1 (1926-1929) are arranged in chronological order by recording date. Thankfully, while there is a small degree of song repetition, alternate takes of the same piece never run back to back. -AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush

1. Frank Hutchison - Worried Blues 3:12
2. Frank Hutchison - Train That Carried The Girl From Town 3:16
3. Frank Hutchison - Stackalee 2:47
4. Frank Hutchison - The Wild Horse 3:00
5. Frank Hutchison - Long Way To Tipperary 3:01
6. Frank Hutchison - The West Virginia Rag 2:54
7. Frank Hutchison - C&O Excursion 3:21
8. Frank Hutchison - Coney Isle 3:04
9. Frank Hutchison  - Old Rachel 3:06
10. Frank Hutchison - Lightning Express 3:27
11. Frank Hutchison - Stackalee 3:06
12. Frank Hutchison - Logan County Blues 3:12
13. Frank Hutchison - Worried Blues 3:23
14. Frank Hutchison - Train That Carried The Girl From Town 3:02
15. Frank Hutchison - The Last Scene Of The Titanic 3:32
16. Frank Hutchison - All Night Long 2:55
17. Frank Hutchison (Fiddle – Sherman Lawson) - Alabama Girl, Ain't You Comin' Out Tonight? 2:58
18. Frank Hutchison (Fiddle – Sherman Lawson) - Hell Bound Train 3:00
19. Frank Hutchison And Sherman Lawson (Fiddle – Sherman Lawson) - Wild Hogs In The Red Brush 3:07
20. Frank Hutchison - The Burglar Man 2:50
21. Frank Hutchison - Back In My Home Town 3:04
22. Frank Hutchison - The Miner's Blues 3:17
23. Frank Hutchison - Hutchison's Rag 3:01
24. Frank Hutchison - The Boston Burglar 3:09

Peru

Peruvian heat from guitarist, songwriter and king of the Carretera Central style - Teo Laura Amao!

El Sonido de la Carretera Central spans from 1973 to 1985, featuring various groups that Teo wrote and arranged songs for. Bands like Los Sanders, Los Blue Kings, Costa Azul, and of course, Los Jharis, with their hard rock and soul-influenced cumbia songs, are mainstays in the neighborhood known as ÑaÑa, as well as various other working class barrios in Lima, and Teo worked with all of them.

Compiled from various 45, LP and cassette releases, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the uninitiated. We’re sure this compilation will get you hooked on Teo’s unique guitar slinging and his often imitated but never equaled ‘estilo Carretera’.

>> Highlights from the 40+ year career of Teo Laura Amao
>> 12 songs never released outside of Peru
>> One time pressing of 500 LPs

There’s something inherently romantic about the open road that has for a long time made it a favourite point of reference for musicians and filmmakers. The wandering beat poets, the young Bob Dylan, visionary acid casualties like Jimi Hendrix and Dennis Hopper, the surrealist cinema of David Lynch: titans of modern culture whose artistic output is loaded with stylised imagery of the ‘highway’, the last bastion of freedom and independence, the notions of escapism, the traveller, the nomad.

From a British point of view, it has to be said that the ‘motorway’ just doesn’t crack it like the ‘highway’. The dreamy idealism of speeding into the desert sunset seems to lose its way somewhat when one transplants the setting to the dull monotony of the British motorway. I should know. I’ve driven along the M3 between Southampton and London about a million times. And I’ve seen Easy Rider. They’re not the same. Put it this way: do you think that if Bob Dylan had been born in Maidstone instead of Minnesota, and his most famous album was ‘The M20 Revisited’ rather than ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, he would have got to where he is today?

Shifting continent now to a new compilation, El Sonido de La Carretera Central , which uses classic ‘highway’ mysticism to give the record that same aura of liberty and youth that is so enshrined in popular culture. The Carretera Central of Peru stretches from the Pacific coasts of Lima into the Andes Mountains and the city of La Oroya. In spite of La Oroya bearing the dubious distinction of being one of the ten most polluted cities on the planet, it is a route that is infinitely more enigmatic than the carretera of my own youth, which bypasses Eastleigh, Basingstoke and Fleet Services.

El Sonido de La Carretera Central (The Sound of The Central Highway) is a collection of twelve Peruvian rock ‘n’ roll cumbias spanning the period 1973–85, a mixture of original and cover, and vigorously arranged and delivered by one of the kings of seventies psychedelic and surf guitar in the country, Teo Laura Amao. At the forefront of the chicha explosion of the late hippy era, Teo Laura epitomises the sound that merged Latin rhythms, themselves often rooted in African tradition, with the US and British rock scenes. The amalgamation of these distinct styles created something that was chaotically colourful, wildly danceable, and deliciously rebellious.

In a mightily impressive demonstration of the tentacle-like influence of one man’s guitar playing, the record features the likes of Los Sanders, Costa Azul, Los Blue Kings and Los Jharis, all of which were in one way or another connected to Teo Laura. Things kick off with Los Blue Kings’ ‘El Rey Loco’ which firmly cocks the chicha trigger with the twanging lead guitar and raw production that are such distinguishing features of the genre. Throughout the record electric guitar and organ vie to lead the way, by turn writhing and contorting their way over a skittering percussion section. Spookily trippy Hammond gives way to full on funk wah-wah and the sound is one that veers from US-style soul, such as in ‘Si Ya Te Vas’ from Los Sanders, to tropical Latin trippiness in Conjunto Luz Roja’s ‘El Borrachito Peruano’, while making space to take off on several grooves in between.

The Beatles’ ‘With Love from Me to You’ gets a reworking in ‘El Sha La La’ from Cielo Gris before the song descends into a typically swirling affirmation of aching love. Affairs of the heart provide source material for the majority of the songs here, and a key characteristic of the sound is the strikingly mournful and heartfelt vocals that bring an emotive edge to the far-out musical revelry. The nod to The Beatles and some English vocals in other places reemphasises the influence of foreign-born, big league rock ‘n’ roll and suggests an eagerness to infuse the chicha sound with a wider appeal.

Yet overall there is an undisputably South American identity to what’s going on here. Los Sanders are the main players on the record, contributing seven of the dozen tunes, and their ‘Recuerdos’ and ‘Hoy Te Toca Sufrir’ swelter with tropical humidity. Strip away the guitar and organ of Los Jharis’ ‘Los Hombres También Lloran’ and replace them with some panpipes, and there are the unmistakable melodies of Andean folk music. It gives clear signs of the evolution of local musical styles that merged with globally dominant external elements as Peruvian musicians sought to reenergise their sound without losing sight of their own traditions. It didn’t just work well, it launched Peruvian music through the stratosphere and created a national sound of thrilling decadence and captivating passion.

Having said all that, it is not the open road that is most evoked by El Sonido de La Carretera Central, which seethes with a more urban energy. This is the spirit of the Lima barrio, the fired-up collision of densely-packed humanity and the organic roots of Peruvian culture, and the musical tempest that was created within the working class neighbourhoods from which these bands emerged. A great record that encapsulates the sensational verve of one of South American music’s most striking sub-genres, this is highly recommended. -Nick MacWilliam

A1 Los Blue King's De Ñaña - El Rey Loco 2:31
A2 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Mi Orgullo 3:20
A3 Costa Azul - La Tanga Carioca 3:15
A4 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Si Ya Te Vas 3:28
A5 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Recuerdos 3:23
A6 Conjunto Luz Roja - El Borrachito Peruano 3:32
B1 Cielo Gris - El Sha La La 3:46
B2 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Por Qué Me Sigues 2:55
B3 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Hoy Te Toca Sufrir 3:42
B4 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Reina De Mi Corazon 3:26
B5 Los Sander's De Ñaña - Caminando De La Mano 3:48
B6 Los Jharis De Ñaña - Los Hombres También Lloran 3:33

U.S. and England

Peggy Seeger is a singer of traditional AngloAmerican songs and an activist songwriter. The sister of legendary American folk singer Pete Seeger, Peggy has some 200 songs under her belt, including Gonna Be an Engineer, a major anthem of the women’s movement. Her life has always played out at the intersection of music and politics; a chance meeting in England 1956 with Ewan MacColl, then married with a family of his own, led to a partnership of love and activism which would last the next 33 years.

Peggy personally selected these traditional and original songs focused primarily on the themes of love and politics. From a dominant figure in the folk song movement in the U.S. and England for more than 35 years, these titles have reached millions: Freight Train, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Gonna Be An Engineer. "21 tracks display the variety of Peggy's repertoire, her range of styles, love of tradition and innovative songwriting prowess." — Homespun Tapes

As a title, The Folkways Years is something of a misnomer for this compilation album because it is a broader collection, in which recordings made by Peggy Seeger for Folkways Records constitute less than half of the 21 selections, along with eight previously unreleased, mostly live recordings made in the 1980s, three tracks licensed from Rounder Records, and a sample from Seeger's upcoming new album. Taken together, the recordings constitute a musical autobiography that traces her interest in traditional folk music: her original, feminist songs such as "Lady, What Do You Do All Day?" and "Gonna Be an Engineer," songs associated with her husband Ewan MacColl, including "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which he wrote for her, and songs she wrote for each of her children. In her self-deprecating liner notes, Seeger confesses that for most of her life she has been unable to bear the sound of her recordings, which may explain why she has drawn so little from her large body of work with Folkways. Her thin voice can be an acquired taste, though her talent for songwriting overcomes the limitations of her performing ability. -AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

1. Pretty Saro (Tin Whistle – Calum MacColl) 3:41
2. Lady, What Do You All Day? (Lead Guitar – Calum MacColl, Vocals [Supporting] – Ewan MacColl) 3:42
3. Broomfield Hill (Vocals [Refrain] – Calum MacColl, Ewan MacColl) 2:52
4. The Squire And The Colic 4:09
5. Jellon Graeme 5:32
6. Going To The West (Autoharp – Peggy Seeger, Vocals, Dulcimer [Lap] – Penny Seeger, Vocals, Mandolin – Mike Seeger) 3:47
7. Jane Jane (Vocals, Handclaps – Barbara Seeger, Penny Seeger) 1:29
8. When I Was Single 2:52
9. The Wedding Dress Song 2:05
10. Freight Train Blues 2:46
11. Song Of Myself 4:08
12. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face 2:23
13. My Son 4:05
14. Song For Calum 2:24
15. Little Girl Child 2:36
16. Gonna Be An Engineer 4:28
17. Song Of Choice (Vocals – Ewan MacColl) 3:45
18. Talking Wheelchair Blues 3:34
19. Nobody Knew She Was There (Dulcimer [Appalachian] – Peggy Seeger) 3:00
20. Thoughts Of Time (Autoharp – Peggy Seeger, Guitar – Neil MacColl) 3:24
21. Garden Of Flowers (Guitar [Backing] – Neil MacColl, Guitar [High] – Calum MacColl, Peggy Seeger, Vocals – Irene Scott) 3:28

USA


Finger Picker's Delight

Sam McGee was one of the first members of the Grand Ole Opry in the mid 1920s and was still a regular performer in 1974 when the program moved to Opryland. His recording career began in 1926 when he accompanied banjoist-singer-comic Uncle Dave Macon on 5 selections. Sam went on to make fine recordings on his own which so far remain largely un-re-issued. He was heavily influenced by African-American blues guitar players as this recording presents ample evidence. The recordings on this CD were produced in 1969 and 1970 by Mike Seeger with Goldie Stewart on bass and Clifton McGee on second guitar. The CD contains all of Arhoolie LP 5012 plus two (the last two) previously unissued selections.

Recorded over the course of 1969 and 1970, Grand Dad of the Country Pickers showcases the considerable talents of Sam McGee through exercises in gorgeous, fingerpicked parlor songs, blues guitar playing, banjo tunes, waltzes, and spirituals. Though the majority of the tracks highlight McGee's idiosyncratic instrumental skills, renditions of the nostalgic "When the Wagon Was New" and the durable and oft-repeated theme in "Penitentiary Blues," both with his colorful word-slurring singing, are standouts themselves. Traditional instrumentals like the fiddle tune "Black Mountain Rag" and the spiritual "Wayfaring Stranger" are also major highlights. With a repertoire stretching back to the early days of the 20th century, McGee was able to incorporate elements of the many forms he'd come across in his 75 years and craft a truly vibrant work, all done with a very warm and expressive style. Though more like Doc Watson than Uncle Dave Macon, with whom he performed extensively, McGee was a truly unique talent. Grand Dad of the Country Pickers is a fine introduction. -AllMusic Review by Matt Fink

“… it is essentially a McGee showcase‚ he plays guitar banjo and banjo-guitar all in a most accomplished fashion…. Apart from re-recording his earlier solos Sam demonstrates how well he performed in so many differing styles‚ sentimental songs waltzes blues ballads and even more up-to-date numbers like the sixties instrumental hit ‘Wheels’ all get exemplary treatment…. the performances here are impressively skillful thoroughly listenable and joyously entertaining.” -Pat Harrison — Blues & Rhythm

Nashville (Grand Ole Opry) got introduced to fingerstyle guitar from Sam McGee – who learned from blacks eating at his folks store. Circa – 1900 - 1910

From 1925 to 1935 the Grand Ole Opry was dominated by string bands. Dr. Humphrey Bates and his Possum Hunters, the Crook Brothers, the Gully Jumpers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers were all regular contributors. It was in the Fruit Jar Drinkers that Sam McGee, one of the pioneers in country guitar playing, first started out as a professional entertainer.

Sam McGee (born 1894 in Tennessee) was the first guitarist to introduce fingerpicking into country music (to Dave Macon on the Grand Ole Opry - around 1925.) Sam grew up surrounded by plenty of home-made music - his father a fiddler, his brother banjo - so, he just took to playing accompaniment with them. But, the guitar was rare in the Tennessee hills before the First World War and he didn't have anybody to learn from. The first other guitarist that young Sam heard was Tom Hood (black guy?) who was fingerpicking the guitar in the way that Sam was trying to teach himself.

After Sam’s family moved from the farm to town was where he had his first contact with black people: "My daddy ran a little store, and these section hands would come over from the railroad at noon... Well, after they finished their lunch, they would play guitars... that's where I learned to love the blues tunes. Black people were about the only people that played guitar then."

Nov. 2006 
Sam's granddaughter Jane McGee Frost wrote me with some interesting details, when I asked about Sam's playing the first electric guitar on the Opry: "Yes, Sam McGee did play the first electric guitar (National New Yorker Model made in 1938) ever played on the Opry sometime In the early 40’s. The story he told in our family and that I have heard forever is that after he played, George D Hay told him not to bring that electric guitar back that they wanted to keep the Opry down to earth. A year or so after that, Pee Wee King performed with electrical instruments in his band and from that point on, the opry allowed electric instruments. My Uncle Bass McGee still has this National New Yorker electric guitar. It does not look anything like any other musical instrument I have ever seen.
"Did you know that as part of the comedy act, Sam could also play cow bells. He had a matched tuned set of 8 cow bells (do re me fa so la ti do) and at a festival somewhere, someone stole one of the bells and he searched everywhere to find another bell with the missing note but he never found an exact match to the one stolen." 
She also wrote: "I inherited my grandfather’s Gibson Mastertone banjo as well as a couple of mandolins. When he passed away, he had 27 musical instruments in his estate and all remain within our family except for one Gibson Electric guitar which was loaned out and is now missing. (serial number Gibson E-S300A5087 in case you come across this hot instrument--contact Jane...)

1. Sam McGee Stomp 2:05
2. Fuller Blues 2:20
3. Burglar Bold 1:36
4. Drew Drop 3:29
5. Jesse James 3:29
6. Ching Chong 3:03
7. Blackberry Blossom 2:01
8. Wheels 1:53
9. How Great Thou Art 2:42
10. When The Wagon Was New 2:55
11. Franklin Blues 2:22
12. Penitentiary Blues 2:56
13. Pig Ankle Rag 2:32
14. Railroad Blues 4:45
15. Buckdancer’s Choice 2:55
16. Black Mountain Rag 2:25
17. Wayfaring Stranger 2:41

Note
Incl. booklet

Congo

Classic Rumba from Zaire And Congo Republic

Although soukous is a musical style that is relatively unfamiliar to me it is something I have a fondness for and have previously written about on this blog. Those earlier posts focused on Leon Bukasa and Dr Nico, two Congolese musicians with a very similar interpretation of the style. On both occasions I used the word "dreamy" to describe their music which - although casual and fairly unsophisticated - holds up as an accurate description of their sound. With Tabu Ley Rochereau, much of this remains true. His music carries that same 'dreamy' sound as Bukasa and Dr Nico, with delay-coloured guitar and beautiful soft vocals. In my summary of Bukasa's work, I mentioned the featured song's name change ('Congo/Zaire Ya Biso') - a process enforced by dictatorial rule, a part of President Mobutu's 'Zairization' of Congo. Very similarly Rochereau - born Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu - adopted his well-known title as a response to Mobutu's rise to power. In fact, one of Rochereau's later albums was banned by the President, demonstrating the effect of dictatorship on the nation's music. In an unsettling political period it is somewhat peculiar that the music of Rochereau and his contemporary's is so settled; so comforting and mellow. -Will

Banners in memory of Tabu Ley during his funeral service held on Monday, December 9, 2013 in Kinshasa. Tabu Ley's burial date on Monday was a national holiday in Congo DR. Photo/Fred Obachi Machoka
Tabu Ley Rochereau: The Passing of a Legend
He breathed his last on November 30, 2013. He was 73 or 76, depending on which source you read. Born Pascal-Emmanuel Sinamoyi Tabu, he would later go by Tabu Ley Rochereau, following then President Mobutu Sese Seko’s Authenticité reforms in the late 1960’s that were aimed at ridding the country of any lingering traces of colonialism and the continuing influence of Western culture.

This included dressing styles, appropriate renaming of all major towns and cities, as well dropping of Christian names. Leopoldville was renamed Kinshasa, while Stanleyville became Kisangani. Tabu Ley dropped the name Pascal. He only studied up to secondary school before switching to music as a full time career.

He got the name Rochereau when his peers at school teased him after answering a question on French History. The question was about the general who led the resistance during the Franco-Prussian war –Gen. Pierre Denfert Rochereau. The name stuck. And he opted to keep it as his stage name.

The Musical Journey:
Tabu Ley initially sang in a church choir. As a teen he took songs he had written to the leading musician of the time, Joseph Kabasele, who recorded them and invited the youth into the group. After finishing high school, Tabu Ley joined Kabasele’s L'African Jazz band as a full-time musician.

One of Tabu Ley’s earliest musical moments was when he sang in the pan-African hit Indépendance Cha Cha. During the celebrations, he was chauffeured around with then premier Patrice Lumumba in the latter’s Cadillac, in 1960. He only stayed with L’African Jazz band until 1963, before leaving to form his own band, African Fiesta.

The 1960’s through to 1980 saw Tabu Ley record huge success with hits like Kelya, Adios Teté, Bonbon Sucré, Sorozo, Kaful Mayay, Aon Aon, and Mose Konzo among others. In 1966 he recorded the lovely ballad Mokolo na kokufa (The Day I Die) which became one of his greatest songs ever.

In 1970, he renamed his band to Orchestre Afrisa International, Afrisa being a combination of Africa and Éditions Isa, his record label. Along with Franco Luambo's TPOK Jazz band, Afrisa was one of Africa's greatest bands. He was the first African artist to perform at the Olympia in Paris, in 1970.

Impressed with the power of Western pop and R&B, Rochereau added trap drums to his line-up early on, and grew an afro as well as wearing bell-bottoms and James Brown-style stage costumes. In 1981 he recruited a young talented singer and dancer --M'bilia Bel, initially a backup singer for Abeti Masikini and later with Sam Mangwana, who he had worked with at Afrisa.

M'bilia Bel joined his group of spicy female dancers, known as Rocherettes. She would help popularize his band further, and became the first female soukous singer to gain acclaim throughout Africa.

Another of Tabu Ley’s greatest music master pieces was done in 1985. The Government of Kenya had banned all foreign music from the National Radio service. In the same year, he composed the song Nakei Nairobi and its Swahili version: Twende Nairobi (Let's go to Nairobi) --sung by M'bilia Bel, in praise of Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi. The ban was promptly lifted.

In the early 1990s he briefly settled in Southern California. He began to tailor his music towards an International audience by including more English lyrics and by increasing more international dance styles such as Samba. He found success with the release of albums such as Muzina, Exil Ley, Africa Worldwide and Babeti soukous.

In 1996, Tabu Ley participated in the album Gombo Salsa by the salsa music project Africando. The song Paquita from that album is a remake of a song that he recorded in the late 1960s with African Fiesta. His last album was Tempelo, released in 2006 with the help of a friend, Maika Munan. It also features Melodie, a girl he had sired with M’bilia Bel. In all, Tabu Ley recorded over 3,000 songs and produced 250 albums during his singing career.

The Rivalry with Franco
Tabu Ley is said to have had great rivalry with TPOK’s Franco, a rivalry many a critic believed it was only meant to sell their shows. It was the same case with Dr Nico Kasanda, after Kasanda had formed a splinter group from Afrisa in 1965 to form his own band.

The three would come together, however, following the death of Kalle Kabasele in 1983. Kabasele was a highly respected musician, and widely regarded as the founder of Congolese music. While Franco was still going strong, Kasanda had taken a break off music following the collapse of his Belgian record label. He had now taken to the bottle, and later passed on, in a Belgian hospital in 1985.

Both Tabu Ley and Franco were in Paris when news of Kabaselle’s death came in. They decided to bury the hatchet and recorded Kabaselle in Memoriam, and three other tracks, laid down by Franco's guitarist Michelino, himself a defector from Afrisa.

Tabu Ley's Political life:
Rochereau danced delicately around Mobutu, as it would be dangerous for him to do otherwise. Towards the end of the 1980’s, however, he became disenchanted and sought out exile in France, in 1988. His 1990 album Trop, C'est Trop was banned by the Mobutu regime as it was deemed subversive.

He was always more explicitly distant from Mobutu’s politics, especially in the darkest moments of his tyranny and until his end. In 1993 he published the album Exil-Ley. It contained mainly political songs.

Amongst those was Le Glas a Sonnè (the bell has gone), where he nominates one by one the Congolese politics and musicians from Patrice Lumumba to Joseph Kabasele; from Franco Luambo to Moise Tsombe but avoids mentioning Mobutu. In the song he expressed his disappointment for the lost occasion of the African leaders, once freed by the European tyranny, instead of serving Africa they fought against each other.

When Mobutu was deposed in 1997, Tabu Ley returned to Kinshasa and took up a position as a cabinet minister in the government of new President Laurent Kabila. After Kabila's death, Tabu Ley joined the appointed transitional parliament created by Joseph Kabila, until it was dissolved following the establishment of the inclusive transitional institutions.

In November 2005 Tabu Ley was appointed Vice-Governor of Kinshasa, a position devolved to his party, the Congolese Rally for Democracy by the 2002 peace agreements. He also served as provincial minister of Culture and Arts, Sports, Youth and Leisure, and Tourism in the City-Province of Kinshasa until his health deteriorated and had to relinquish the position.

Family, And the Women in his life:
There was Teté, one of his first wives with whom Tabu Ley had 6 children. Then came Jeanne Mokomo, Miss Zaire 1969, with whom he had another 6 Children as well. He also had dozens of children with other different women. But M’bilia Bel was perhaps the most recognizable of his collection of wives.

Initially recruited as a singer/dancer, She soon took on other duties and became Tabu Ley’s official wife in 1987. When she finally gave birth to a baby girl, Melodie, Tabu Ley divorced his old wife, Sarah. But the marriage was not to last.

In the run up to her giving birth, Tabu Ley had recruited another female vocalist Kilisha Ngoyi, better known by her stage name: Faya Tess, perhaps to cover for the time M’bilia Bel was going to be away. Along with the two, the band went on one big tour of East Africa that took in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

This culminated in the album Nadina, which had Lingala and Swahili versions of the title song. The tour was well received by crowds. Upon their return, rumors started making rounds, about a rift between Tabu Ley and M'bilia Bel. Apparently, M’bilia Bel was not comfortable with Faya Tess’ closeness with Tabu Ley. Publicly, they both denied the rift.

After she had given birth, she decided to do a revenge on Tabu Ley, with guitarist Rigobert Bamundele, commonly known as Rigo Star. Tabu Ley had begun to devote all his resources to Bel. He saw her as her true love, but soon learnt of the affair. He nabbed them red-handed at the plush George V Hotel in Paris and apparently chased her through the streets with a pistol. That was the end of the relationship, and her career with Afrisa.

Perhaps to compensate Bel for the loss of place in the band, Rigo Star embarked on a career salvaging mission for M’bilia Bel, composing all the songs on her debut solo career album: Phénomène, which was released soon after.

Overall, Tabu Ley fathered about 68 Children. Four of those, Pegguy Tabu, Abel Tabu, Philemon and Youssoupha Mabiki (who has French Citizenship) followed their father’s footsteps. They are into music, albeit in different genres. Melodie, features on his last album, Tempelo, released in 2006 with the help of a friend, Maika Munan.

During his final days at St Lucas Hospital in Brussels, where he passed on, he was in the constant company of another daughter --Inna, and two sons. One of those was Marc Tabu, a France-based journalist with CFR6. He was the first person to break the news of his father’s demise, on his facebook wall.

Not much is known about the others, though. Some were barely out of their teens at the time of his death. Barely able to fend for themselves. Tabu Ley is said to have been a doting father, ensuring that his children got all the basics in life. These included good education, among others. The young ones, unfortunately, may never get to live the kind of life he’d have loved them to live. -Dan B. Atuhaire

1. Ana mokoy 3:00
2. Maria maria 6:07
3. Djibebeke 4:11
4. Laisse-toi aimer 3:53
5. Lina 3:54
6. Zando ya malonga 4:12
7. Mokolo nakokufa 4:56
8. Kimakango mpe libala 7:52
9. Libala ya maloba 7:10
10. Mutambula 5:30
11. Bonane na noel 6:30
12. Basi basalaka 7:09
13. Zuwa ya bosenzi 6:43

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