Miles Cleret fra Soundway Records, ansvarlig for Ghana Soundz utgivelsene og de tre fantastiske Nigeria Special-skivene som kom tidligere i år, har satt sammen en liste bestående av "20 Best African Records Ever Made". Fyren er jo en med overmåte peiling så lista burde være interessant for mange. Jeg har ctrl-x-ctrl-p'et liste inn under men orginaloppføringa finner du hos Fact Magazine her.
01: EBO TAYLOR
‘EBO TAYLOR’ LP
(ESSIEBONS, 1978, GHANA)
Ebo Taylor was one of the first musicians I met for the ‘Ghana Soundz’ albums that we put out. He remains one of my best friends over there, and is probably one of
the most important musicians of the last 40 years. The track ‘Heaven’ is still one of my favourites. The first copy I ever found was from a character in the market – it was behind his fridge!
02: ORCHESTRE LES NOIRS
‘SIKIYA SAUCE’ 45
(PATHE, 1971, CONGO/ZAIRE)
A massive hit, this was pressed in Kenya, Nigeria and Congo. It had three different French pressings! It’s kind of dreamy Congolese rumba. I’ve
never been a massive fan of Congolese music, but this is one track that stood out.
03: ORCHESTRE POLY-RHYTHMO DE COTONOU DAHOMEY
‘GENDAMOU NA WILI WE GNANNIN’
(ALBARIKA STORE, 1974, BENIN)
This is what’s called pachanga, but it’s pachanga that’s been through the African mill, and you wouldn’t hear it produced like this anywhere else in the world. That’s what’s so unique about Benin music. You kind of lump Francophone countries together somehow, but because these guys were next to Lagos they were getting music produced in a different way. That’s what I like about African music sometimes; the fusion of different recording techniques, rhythms and styles all thrown into one and suddenly you have these records that come out of nowhere and really surprise you.
04: OSCAR SULL ERY & THE UHURU DANCE BAND
‘BUKOM MASHIE’ LP
(SOUNDWAY, 2005, GHANA)
Kwadwo Donkoh gave me this on cassette; he thought it might appeal. So I went back to my hotel room, and this was the first track on the tape. When you’re compiling a record, you look for a couple of gems and when I heard this I knew that I’d found one.
05: THE BLACK STAR SOUND
(HALAGALA, 1967, UK)
Strangely enough, this was recorded in Putney, and is a traditional Ghanaian rhythm with jazz arrangements. They just cut one record. Halagala is an interesting label, they put out some ska too.
06: EASY KABAKA BROWN
(PHILIPS, 1976, NIGERIA)
Nigerian music is not necessarily the best music in Africa, but in terms of variety and sheer volume, it’s up there. This is a great record, featuring really good-time Eastern high-life with fantastic horn solos and an incredibly deep Afro-jazz track as well.
07: THE LOI-TOKI-TOK ‘WARE-WA’ 45
(PATHE, 1968, KENYA)
Another Kenyan band who probably cut around five 45s. It must be a traditional track because I’ve seen a few different versions of it. It sounds completely up to date
– it’s dance music, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter where you play it in the world, it’ll get people on their feet.
08: MOUSSA DOUMBIA
‘MOUSSA DOUMBIA’ LP
(SACODIS, 1974, IVORY COAST)
This contains two killer tracks: ‘Black And White’ is one of the best-feeling African dancefloor records of all time; and a heavy, heavy version of ‘Samba’ that was made famous by Miriam Makeba. He’s just got a rasping energy about him, very raw.
09: THE EAGLES LUP OPO
‘KAJO GOLO-WEKA’ 45
(AFRICAN EAGL ES RECORDING, 1972, KENYA)
This record doesn’t really fit into any genre. I know very little about the band. The track is a kind of deep African jazz, and strangely for Kenyan music it features an amazing piano solo. It is one of those rare African records that occasionally turns up and really throws you because you can’t quite work out where it came from.
10: T.P. ORCHESTRE POLY-RHYTHMO
(ALBARIKA STORE, 1976, BENIN)
T.P. were one of West Africa’s most prolific bands of all time. Sung in French, the track ‘Mille Fois Merci’ is a kind of kavacha/soukous monster,
which was recorded at EMI Nigeria, hence the huge sound. It’s one of those records that you could mix with a house track and it’d sound as fresh today as it did back then.
11: ANAMBRA BEATS
(AFRODISIA, 1972, NIGERIA)
A tiny band, that I’ve only ever seen one 45 from. Its kind of unusual in that it’s a mid-tempo high-life track that you think is (just) a guitar band and then right at the end this astounding trumpet solo comes in.
12: VICTOR OLAIYA AND HIS ALL STARS
(PHILIPS, 1959, NIGERIA)
The Nigerian equivalent of E.T. Mensah, I guess. He was the high-life king. This contains the amazing ‘Ewa’, which is pure classic highlife, topped off with Victor’s horn! It still works today, nearly 50 years later.
13: FELA KUTI
‘FELA’S LONDON SCENE’
(EMI, 1970, NIGERIA)
This is my favourite Fela record, when Igo Chiko was still playing sax. However much people say they like Fela’s sax style, I think Igo blew the arse off him. The arrangements were so much tighter with him taking those solos all the time. The track off here is ‘Eg Be Mi O’. When the band were in London, they can’t have had the female chorus with them – it sounds like they must have got in a session choir at Abbey Road, and there’s something about the oddity of having an English session choir with a raw Nigerian funk band! It’s just one of the deepest tracks. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it.
14: THE TOREADORS
(MOTELLA, 1973, SOUTH AFRICA)
There are hundreds of 45s out of South Africa that have ‘jive’ or ‘soul’ written on them, and they’re generally very boring. I traded this with a guy in New York. It doesn’t fit into any boundaries at all. It says it’s a jazz track, but it’s ‘out there’, basically.
15: SAHARA ALL STARS OF JOS
(EMI, 1976, NIGERIA)
An Afro-beat band from the north of Nigeria, this is one of only two LPs the All Stars produced. EMI Nigeria were just head-and-shoulders above any other
recording studio in Africa at the time in terms of the very full sound you got there.
16: K FRIMPONG AND HIS CUBANO FIESTAS
(OFO BROS, 1976, GHANA)
This is a record that everybody in Ghana knows. When I was first there I’d hear it on the radio and think ‘What the hell is that? I’ve got to find that record!’ I eventually met Frimpong and found the record on the same day! It’s just so strange, it’s got a bit of everything but all in a very unique style.
17: MUL ATU ASTAKE
(AMHA, 1974, ETHIOPIA)
A legendary album that’s been reissued on both vinyl and CD, this remains unique, blending jazz with traditional music. It was a revolutionary record, although it was probably one of Ethiopia’s smallest-selling.
18: BEMBEYA JAZZ NATIONAL
(SYLIPHONE, 1974, GUINEA)
This is one of the first records that got me into the Guinea-sound. It’s got that Hawaiian slide guitar on it and it just takes you somewhere completely different: a deep, deep record.
19: ALEMAYEHU ESHETE
(AMHA, 1971, ETHIOPIA)
Alemayehu is the Ethiopian James Brown, or Elvis, or a combination of the two! ‘Funk’ somehow doesn’t really sum up how original his music is. He was one at the forefront of fusing Ethiopian music with elements from the outside world. I walked into a barber’s shop in Addis and this was taped to the wall – it had been there since back in the day!
20: HARBOURS BAND
(PHILIPS, 1970, NIGERIA)
The first time I went to Africa I was very much coming from a jazz/funk/soul background and I was looking exclusively for that. When I look back
now at the number of high-life records that I brushed aside, it doesn’t make me happy! This is just one of the very best pieces of high-life music – from Port Harcourt in Nigeria. You’d be sitting outside on a Sunday morning in Africa, and it’d come on the radio and people would start dancing all around you.