AFROBEAT AIRWAYS 2-RETURN FLIGHT TO GHANA 1974-1983.

AFROBEAT AIRWAYS 2-RETURN FLIGHT TO GHANA 1974-1983.

For anyone who loves African music, Analog Africa’s releases are essential listening. Their compilations are among the best compilations of African music available. The reason for this is simple, Analog Africa dig deeper than other reissue labels. They’ve been doing since 2005, when Samy Ben Rebjed founded Analog Africa. Since then, Analog Africa have released just fourteen compilations. Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is their latest release. It’s the followup to 2010s Afrobeat Airways-West African Shock Waves 1972-1978. It was one of the best compilations of African music released during 2010. Since then, fans of Afrobeat have hungrily awaited and anticipated the followup to Afrobeat Airways-West African Shock Waves 1972-1978. At last, it’s here, and Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is what a compilation should look like.

The best way to describe Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983, is a luxurious and lovingly compiled compilation. It’s contained in a heavyweight cardboard slipcase. Within it are a forty-four page book and separate slipcase which contains the CD. Everything about Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 oozes quality. Compared to some of the inferior compilations I come across this is the future of compilations. Other reissue companies should look at what Analog Africa do and make this the industry standard. After all, many people, myself included, want a quality product. Many people also want to know more about the music and the people who made it. 

Describing the sleeve-notes to Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 as extensive and informative seems an understatement. It’s a labor of love. There are ten essays in the sleeve-notes to Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. Nine of the interviews are by Vikran Sohonie, who deserves the utmost credit for his contribution. His love of Ghanian music shines through and his enthusiasm is almost infectious. It’s well worth taking the time to read and absorb the sleeve-notes. It helps you to understand the music on Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. Ironically, to do the sleeve-notes justice, it takes longer to read them than listen to Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. Having said that, it takes several listens to even come close to appreciating the subtleties and nuances of what is some of the best music to come out of Ghana between 1974 and 1983. 

Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 features thirteen tracks from some of Ghana’s greatest musicians. This includes contributions from Ebo Taylor, De Frank Professionals, Ios Issufu And His Moslems, Rob, Loose Up Yourself, Pierre Antoine and Vis A Vis and Complex Soundz. During these thirteen tracks, musical influences and genres melt into one. Everything from jazz, funk, soul, psychedelia and rock influences the music on Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 which I’ll pick the highlights of.

Uppers International’s Aja Wondo opens Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. It was released in 1976, on the Afrodisia label. Written by Chester Adams Issoka, chiming guitars, blazing horns and percussion join forces. Wah-wah guitars add a funky backdrop as the vocal is sung in a call and response style. By now, Uppers International have locked into the tightest, hypnotic groove. It’s almost trancelike. From there, it heads in the direction of celebratory and joyous. Later, a Hammond organ and then grizzled horns ensure this slice of highlife track is uber funky and dramatic.

Recently, I reviewed Ebo Taylor’s eponymous album. A hugely talented multi-instrumentalist, he never enjoyed the commercial success and critical acclaim his music deserved. One listen to Children Won’t Cry and you’ll realize this. It’s a blistering and pulsating horn driven track. Afrobeat and jazz unite peerlessly. Everything falls into place. Whether it’s the braying horns, heartfelt, impassioned vocal or the jazz-tinged guitar that weaves its way across the arrangement, this is Ebo Taylor at his best. Anyone with even a passing interest in Afrobeat, must have an Ebo Taylor album in their record collection.

Between 1978 and 1984, The Cutlass Band released a trio of albums. Before that, they released Obiara Wondo as a single in 1976. It literally bursts into life. Urged on by the vocal, short sharp bursts of braying horns, pounding drums and searing guitars. The vocal is a mixture of emotion and passion. When it drops out, the rest of the band showcase their considerable skill. First up is the flute, then the Hammond organ. Then everyone joins forces, as the track heads to its dramatic crescendo, jazz, funk and highlife becoming one.

De Frank Professionals’ Waiting For My Baby features on their debut album Psychedelic Man. This was the first of three albums they released. Waiting For My Baby is another track where musical genres melt into one. Everything from rock, psychedelia, garage, jazz and funk shine through during four majestic minutes. That’s why it’s one of Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 highlights. 

African Brothers’ Wope Me A Ka explodes into life. Released as a single in 1973, it featured on their sophomore album High-Life Time, which was released on Afribros. When the band are counted in, the African Brothers head off on the funkiest of journeys. It’s a track that sounds as if it belongs on an African Blaxploitation movies. You can imagine a car chase through the dusty streets of Accra taking place to this glorious track. Dramatic, pulsating music unfolds. Percussion, stabs of Hammond organ and drums provide the backdrop to an urgent vocal. So, good is this track, I’ll be looking out for the African Brothers’ album High-Life Time.

Rob’s Loose Up Yourself featured on his 1978 album Make It Fast, Make It Slow. This was his second and final album. Released on the Essiebons label, Rob delivers a sassy, sultry vamp. Soulful and funky describes his vocal. As for the arrangement, it’s a fusion of jazz, funk and Afrobeat. Apart from Rob’s sassy vamp, mesmeric machine-gun jazz guitars are at the heart of this track’s success.

During his career, K. Frimpong was part of two successful bands. They were the Vis-A-Vis and Cubano Fiestas. Both bands featured some of the same musicians. Often, the two bands worked at the same time. Kwambena even worked on two albums simultaneously. Despite this, he managed to find to time for a solo career. He recorded several albums as a solo artist. A tantalizing taste of his talent is Abrabo, which was released in 1981, on Atakora Mensah Records. Ironically, it wasn’t the vocal that caught my attention. It was the vocal. Subtle, crystalline and jazz-tinged sound grab your attention. It weaves its way across the arrangement as this uplifting slice of highlife unfolds. Blazing horns and a pulsating, hip-swaying beat provide the backdrop for Kwambena’s vocal. Sung in a call and response style, it’s impassioned, joyous and celebratory. Along with some of the best guitar playing on the compilation, this is K. Frimpong doing what he does best.

Complex Soundz’s God Is Love closes Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. This fourteen-minute opus was released in 1978. Here soul and funk combine. The vocalist takes on the role of a funky preacher. Somehow, he manages to come across as sassy, sincere and sometimes, a snake-oil salesman. It’s a wonderfully over-the-top track. Think of Barry White, James Brown or Luther Vandross at their overblown pomp, and you’re getting their. Meanwhile, horns bray as the rhythm section keep things funky. Jazzy horns accompany a vocal that one minute is a scat, the next full of hollers and whoops. Later, a wonderfully soulful, heartfelt and sincere vocal unfolds on this compelling and sometimes comedic track. Infectiously catchy and overblown, funk, jazz and soul and even proto rap play their part in this opus.

Analog Africa’s latest compilation Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 doesn’t disappoint. Far from it. There’s a reason for that. Rather then release compilations on a monthly basis, Analog Africa concentrate on quality. Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is proof of that. This is only their third compilation of 2013. However, it’s better to release a compilation where everything is of the highest quality. 

This starts with the music. It’s a case of all killer, no filler. For the newcomer to Ghanian music, this is perfect. It’s even better than on Afrobeat Airways-West African Shock Waves 1972-1978. It was good, Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is better. Then there’s the sleeve-notes and packaging. The sleeve-notes are informative and educational. Reading them, is insightful and allows you to understand and appreciate the music better. That’s no bad thing. After all, the music on Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 deserves to be understood and appreciated.

On Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983, everything from funk, gospel, jazz, psychedelia, rock and soul combined. The result is thirteen delicious slices of Afrobeat and highlife. This is music you can’t help but love. Uplifting, joyous, spiritual and infectiously catchy, it’s also funky, jazz-tinged, soulful and lysergic. It’s music that has a foot in four decades. Influenced by fifties and sixties jazz, sixties psychedelia sits next to seventies funk and Blaxploitation. There’s also a twist of rock, gospel and soul. All these influences play their part in some glorious music, music that truly deserves a wider audience. 

Hopefully, thanks to labels like Analog Africa, who on 16th Spetember 2013, released Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983, Ghanian music will at last find the audience it deserves. Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is just a glimpse of the delights Ghanian music has to offer. There’s much, much more yet to be discovered. So, let’s hope that Samy Ben Rebjed continues to release quality compilations like Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983. Of the fourteen compilations Analog Africa have released, the critically acclaimed Afrobeat Airways 2-Return Flight To Ghana 1974-1983 is the best so far. Standout Tracks: Uppers International Aja Wondo, Ebo Taylor Children Won’t Cry, De Frank Professionals Waiting For My Baby and African Brothers’ Wope Me A Ka. 

AFROBEAT AIRWAYS 2-RETURN FLIGHT TO GHANA 1974-1983.

 

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