Various Artists – Afro-Beat Airways 2
If only we had listened to Afrobeat in the 70s, we might have avoided the takeover of disco in the music industry, and, may not have had to endure the unbelievably overrated Daft Punk album this year.
If only we’d listened to Ghana we could have never been subjected to the dreaded vocoder and ‘poom poom’ sounds backing that same old drumbeat again.
If only we had bothered to discover that incredible mix of funk, soul and psychedelia coming from West Africa then the nation’s youth may not have had to invent punk to destroy the crass rubbish that was invading our lives. Oh, well maybe disco was good for something?
‘Afro-Beat Airways 2’ follows the success of the first volume four years ago and brings together rare Ghanaian tracks recorded between 1974 and 1983. If the tracks haven’t been remastered then the superb quality of the sound is even more remarkable. There are legendary artists like K. Frimpong and Complex Soundz here (do yourself a favour and look them up), and, more obscure performers like De Frank & His Professionals who give their own brand of funk and whose ‘Waiting For My Baby’ sounds like a classic soul track that you’ve heard before.
There are definite, unsurprisingly similar sounding sounds to James Brown particularly on ‘Do Your Own Thing’ by De Frank’s Band, and, the near funky drummer loop of ‘Wope Me A Ka’ by The African Brothers. The obvious influence of Fela Kuti is also clearly prominent.
There are hints of The Doors’ psychedelic sound throughout the collection and mixed with the funk and soul threads it makes for a truly memorable listen. ‘I Beg’ by Tony Sarfo & The Funky Afrosibi is an instrumental that could quite easily have influenced a million twelve inch remixes, and, album opener by Uppers International, ‘Aja Wondo’, with its Islamic influence is as good as it gets.
If you’re still unfamiliar with the sounds of Africa, then this album is a perfect way to get acquainted in conjunction with the brilliant 44 page accompanying booklet.
Don’t wait too late to jump on the bandwagon, board the plane now.
Published on Louder Than War 4/01/13 - here