Its back! The Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues of 1970-6 that is Nigeria Special; if you really love me, take me to your house and do me how you like (as Fubura Sekibo might say).
Yep, I really love this album and back at my house, I do me how I like by playing it all the time.
After the modern excesses of Louie Vega & Anane at Ministry Of Sound this week, it’s the fantastic Soundway label with another collection of long forgotten tracks and even some previously un-released material from the 70s Nigeria.
Just over 2 years on from the first Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues, 1970-6, a compilation that took label boss Miles Cleret five years to produce, Volume 2 may just be one CD but its 18 tracks are no odd job package, after thought or anything second rate.
The easy option would have been to track down some more tracks by artists on Vol. 1 like Sir Victor Uwaifo (who had his own album released as Guitar-Boy Superstar 1970-76 after Vol 1 came out such was the demand) and unlike the ‘Heavy, Heavy, Heavy’ of the recently re-issued Afro Rock (as series that stalled at Volume 1), this compilation focuses on a laid back, mid tempo groove.
Don’t worry, it’s still hot! Like the best smooth cha-cha version of ‘Peanut Vender’ your likely to hear outside of Cuba (by Commander In Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers) or the gentle Hawaiian sea shore of The Professional Seagulls Dance Band Of Port Harcourt (formerly known as Rex Lawson‘s The Rivermen). Not that these guys cha-cha in Hawaii but just to give you an idea how highlife, rock, jazz, blues is a fusion of lots of influences; I’m sure you get the idea.
The Otarus’ ‘Omohupa’ is a fantastic blues chant whilst Don Issac Ezekiel makes ‘The Lords Prayer’ into a funky jazz shuffle.
Twins Seven-Seven has an interesting family history to say the least but what about Joy Nwoso? A classically trained in opera singer in Rome (before teaching at the University of Lagoa for 20 years). Both tracks are superbly African but, like the rest of the album, so much more.
The CD comes with the usual Soundway 24-page booklet and if your up for the triple LP version, that four additional bonus tracks (remember when the CD had the bonus tracks?) This is said to be the final part of Nigerian musical jigsaw that they are going to do. If so, that seems a shame to say the least but in addition to Vol 1, don’t forget the others in the series: Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound Of The Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79, Nigeria Rock Special: Psychedelic Afro-Rock And Fuzz Funk In 1970s Nigeria and the recently released Fela influenced Nigeria Afrobeat Special: The New Explosive Sound In 1970′s Nigeria.
Love it at home, just can’t stop listening (and dancing) to it – essential.
Reviewed: Various Artists – Nigeria Special: Volume 2 – The Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues of 1970-6 (Soundways) Cat. No. SNDWCD020 Release date: 8th March 2010
Fubura Sekibo – Psychedelic Baby (3:10)
Black’s Zenith- Shango Oba Onina (3:01)
Twins Seven Seven – Totobiroko (2:53)
The Professional Seagulls Dance Band Of Port Harcourt – Ibi Awo Iyi (4:11)
The Otarus – Omohupa (3:35)
The Don Issac Ezekiel Combination – The Lords Prayer (3:13)
James Etamobe & His All Weather Band – Agboyabakpa (3:07)
The People Star – Onwu Dinjo (6:51)
Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats – Jeka Dubu (3:01)
Emperor Dele Ojo & His African Internationals – Jekoyewa (5:18)
Commander In Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers – Onyebu Chi (3:34)
Paulson Kalu Afrikhanah & His Stars 25 – Ochea Special (3:18)
Fidel Sax Bateke & The Voices Of Darkness – Motako (4:52)
Opotopo – Agboho (8:53)
Tunji Oyelana & The Benders – Iwo Ko La Dami – (5:49)
Etubm Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes – Isip 2 (3:31)
Peacocks Guitar Band International – Onye Aghala Nwanneya (3:01)
The Nkengas – Anyi Bundi Igbo (3:08)
Joy Nwoso & Dan Satch – Egwo Umu Agbogho (4:46)
www.soundwayrecords.com Also recommended on Soundway, Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blues 1968-81, and Colombia! -The Golden Age Of Discos Fuentes — The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-76