Tabansi Sampler.

Label: BBE Africa.

Release Date: ‘30th’ August 2019.

Over the next two years, BBE Africa, an imprint of BBE Music, will release around sixty albums from the Tabansi Records vaults. This is part of their Tabansi Gold reissue series, which got underway recently, and is a reminder of what’s the most important, influential and innovative Nigerian record label of the past six decades. Proof of that is the Tabansi Sampler, which will be released by BBE Africa, on the ‘30th’ August 2019. It features thirteen tracks from the Tabansi Records’ back-catalogue.

Tabansi Records was founded in Nigeria in 1952, and filled a void when major labels like Decca and later, Philips closed the doors on their Nigerian operations. Chief Tabansi, who lent his name to what would become Nigeria’s most important label, recorded artists and then pressed the records at The United African Company’s pressing plant. After that, record vans promoted the latest releases in Nigerian villages. This was just the start for Tabansi Records.

In the sixties, The United African Company decided to concentrate on importing American and European music. With very little competition, Tabansi Records was able to concentrate on local  music, which The United African Company had turned its back on. This was a big mistake.

During the seventies, Tabansi Records was the most successful Nigerian label, and its founder  Chief Tabansi was one of the leading light’s of country’s thriving and vibrant music scene. He had invested in the company he had founded in, in Onitsha, Lagos, alll these years ago, which had its own studios and pressing plant. The company was going from strength-to-strength.

By the eighties, Chief Tabansi was joined in the company by his son Godwin. He helped with promotion and developing the artists on the Tabansi roster. This included the thirteen artists on Tabansi Sampler.

Opening Tabansi Sampler is  Make You No Mind, a stunning unreleased fusion of Afrobeat and highlight from the legendary Ebo Taylor. This sets the bar high. It’s followed by Zeal Anata  a track from Zeal Onyia’s 1975 highlife album Trumpet King Zeal Onyia Returns. 

Nkono Teles’ debut album Party Beats was his finest hour, and featured  his hit single Love Vibration. It’s a track that is synonymous with the groundbreaking composer, engineer,  multi-instrumentalist and producer.

Juju Master Ojo Balingo  released his album Afrotunes Best Of Juju Vol. II on Tabansi Records in 1985. One of the highlights was  the genre-melting Oba Mimo Olorun Ayo, which showcases the considerable talents of  Ojo Balingo. It’s all change on Looking Out For You, a slice of reggae from the The Mandators’ 1979 album Sunrise. It gives way to Thina Dekula, a joyous and irresistible sounding track from Lumingu Puati (Zorro), that marries African and Western influences. Equally joyous is Amanfoo from the Dytomite Starlite Band Of Ghana’s oft-overlooked eponymous debut album which is a hidden gem.

You’re My Solution is a track from Eric Kol’s album Today. It’s a slick and timeless fusion of boogie and disco that even today, will fill a dancefloor. For The Love Of Money is the title-track to Zack and Geebah’s debut album and is a delicious fusion of Afrobeat, funk,  soul and social comment. Super Star is a deeply soulful song from Tony Sarfo and His Funki Afrosibi’s 1983 album Super Star In Festival Day. Hold On Pretty Woman is the title-track from Ben Jagga’s debut album, and is s a joyous, funky slice of boogie. 

Wonderful For Ashawo closed 1977 Ondigui And Bota Tabansi International ’s 1977 album Ewondo Rythm. It combines elements of soukous, highlife and funk on a memorable and rhythmic track. Closing Tabansi Sampler is Akalaka by Victor Chukwu which showcases a truly talented artist. This is the perfect way to close the compilation.

For anyone yet to discover the music released by Tabansi Records  and its various imprints during the seventies and eighties, BBE Africa’s Tabansi Sampler is the perfect introduction. Tabansi Sampler features thirteen tracks from a mixture of familiar faces and new names, on this lovingly curated collection of music from the most important, influential and innovative Nigerian record label of the past six decades. 

Tabansi Sampler.


1 Comment

  1. very informative post.

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