Monday, June 12, 2017

Various Artists - World Psychedelic Classics, Volume 3: Love's a Real Thing - The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa (2004)

Minsato Le, mi Deyihome
Love's a Real Thing
Ceddo End Title
Guajira Ven
Better Change Your Mind
Allah Wakbarr

Love's a Real Thing is an excellent introduction into the wild sound world of West Africa in the '70s. As Ronnie Graham points out in his superb liner notes, the '60s were a time of assimilation for much of the popular music of Africa. Many bands were playing a hybrid of Latin and African music typified by the Congolese rhumba of Franco & OK Jazz. The '70s were a different bag, though, with the heavy electric sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Cream, and others seeping into the consciousness of a new generation of Africans who were also contending with their own emerging sense of identity. The results are raucous, exuberant melting pots of funky soul, psychedelic rock, and honey-sweet Latin horns mixed through the sensibilities of extremely talented African bands on the cusp of developing styles like soukous, mbalax, and Afro-beat. Senegal's Star Band Number One (aka Etoile de Dakar and confusingly billed here as No. 1 de No. 1), were already seasoned veterans by the dawn of the 1970s, and the sound of their "Guajira Van" with its sinewy fuzz guitar solo and talking drum stabs is glorious proto-mbalax. Elsewhere, there are songs more directly inspired by rock and soul. "Allah Wakbarr" by Ofo & the Black Company has a heavy acid rock guitar lead competing with a conga drum for the top of the mix. The title cut, "Love's a Real Thing" by Gambia's Super Eagles, is a gritty organ and electric guitar-driven soul number that could have come out of Memphis' Stax Records. One of the later period numbers, William Onyeabor's "Better Change Your Mind" from 1978, is sophisticated Afro-soul riding on an alien keyboard line. "Keleya" from Mali's Moussa Doumbia is the funkiest of the Afro-beat songs on Love's a Real Thing; its chunky organ solo and James Brown grunts beat out the more laid-back "Ifa" from Tunji Oyelana & the Blenders and "Awon-Ojise-Oluwa" from Nigerian studio veteran Gasper Lawal. There have been other series that have explored Africa in this vibrant and historic period -- the fantastic Ethiopiques, Dakar Sound, and Discotheque discs document Ethiopia, Senegal, and Guinea, respectively -- but what Love's a Real Thing lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth, and the fact that it surveys the whole region rather than a single area makes it a great entry point for them all.

Mp3 [V0] - HERE!

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