Let's kick off with the Afrobeat stuff - there's some essentials from Ghana and Nigeria out now or coming over the next couple of weeks -
Aigbe Lebarty – Unity - PMG
Austrian label Presch Media have just pulled together another massive batch of reissues , spanning the late night afro-soul of Aleke Kanou to the straight up disco sounds of BLO’s Back in Time. This late 70s/ early 80sb album from Nigeria’s Aigbe Lebarty is definitely coming in as a strong favourite though – the title track rattles along north of 120 bpm, carried on guitar licks wonky with an unpredictable, slightly detuned vibe, and high pitched toms (think the Ring My Bell percussion) popping away at will like so many alien invaders. The vocals are scattered and as kinetic as the rhythm, and the cut is guaranteed dancefloor fire, worth the 20 Euro price of the record alone – particularly when collectors websites are currently listing originals of this album for $600+…
3rd Generation Band – Because Of Money / Obi Ye Saa Wui – Mr Bongo
Two sides of guttural, hard Ghanaian afrobeat from the late 70s. This 7” has been lovingly reissued by Mr. Bongo, with a faithfully reproduced sleeve and label. The record was originally cut for the Essiebons label and is apparently rare enough that an original is yet to surface on Discogs. There’s an air of early Fela to both sides, with band leader ‘Rockson’ in fine testifying form on the lead track Because of Money, dropping socially conscious speak/sung vocals on the evil influence of the almighty dollar. Available now direct from Mr Bongo’s site
Pat Thomas – Introduces Marijata – Academy // Pat Thomas – Coming Home – Strut
What’s that about waiting for buses? Two Pat Thomas releases are set to drop this September. The first from Academy reissues the ultra-rare Marijata LP, an album that’s a pretty much perfect fusion of jazz, heavy soul and Ghana rhythm; there’s genuinely not a duff track on there. Meanwhile Strut have put together a triple LP/ double CD career retrospective that spans the years 67-81, includes some of his untouchable disco tinged jams with Ebo Taylor, and features all sorts of sleeve notes and additional photos, including an interview with Thomas himself. Of the two releases, I’d say Marijata just edges it, but there’s plenty necessary to be found in both.
And on the funk and soul side of things...
Betty Harris – Mean Man/ I’m Gonna Get Ya – Soul Jazz
An exclusive shot of New Orleans sauce from Soul Jazz, this 7” doesn’t mess around; massive drums, tight vocals and killer horns, a side Mean Man is a no-brainer. There’s an added bonus on flip- Im Gonna Git Ya opens with a bar of begging-to-be sampled breakbeat & bass that sounds like it’d form the backbone of a College Dropout era Kanye track. Soul Jazz are keeping this one to themselves – there’s only 500 copies pressed and it can only be bought through the Sounds of the Universe shop or the Soul Jazz website. It’s part of their New Orleans essential Funk 45s series, all of which are well worth chucking your cash at…
Lee Moses – Time & Place – Future Days
Another re-issue of the always-sought-after Lee Moses classic of psyche soul, this straight remaster of Moses’s 1971 album from Future Days Recordings is welcome, if only because Time & Place remains almost impossible to get on vinyl. It doesn’t quite scale the heights of the 2007 double LP package from Castle Records, which teamed the original Time & Place LP with a bonus disc of singles and out-takes that included both parts of Moses’s remarkable single Bad Girl. I’ve just had a check, and copies of that repress are currently knocking about online for nearly £200 – what’s more it looks like someone has previously chipped up the best part of 300 quid for a copy. I guess the lesson here is buy this current reissue from Future Days now, or end up paying a fortune for it in 6 months time...
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