Genre pick of the week
Those scholarly diggers at Invisible City Editions make their first foray into the world of the long player with this beautifully put together reissue of Witch's most diverse record. 'Movin' On' was released after the Zamrock heyday, when the music of 80s Zambia came to be influenced by disco and rhumba from neighboring Congo. Bands that didn’t adapt sounded outdated. Thus even Zamrock’s greatest band, Witch, splintered, with a skeleton crew of core members embracing younger musicians to record and release two albums that found the band replacing fuzz guitars with whirling synthesizers and trying their hand at soul, disco and boogie. The LP explodes into action with the title track, an uptempo groover driven on by Gedion Mulenga’s heavy duty bass playing and set alight by Christine Jackson’s cut glass vocals. “Movin On” is swiftly joined on the dancefloor by the James Mason styled funk of “I’m Coming Back” and the powerhouse disco of “It Feels So Good”, a psychedelic disco bomb propelled into orbit by Patrick Mwondela’s swirling synths, which would undoubtedly been sampled by those French robots had they known about it. Elsewhere, Witch inject traces of the Carpenters (“It Was You Boy”), the Doobie Brothers (“You Are My Sunshine”) and Ned Doheny (“Let’s Get Together”). On paper this should be a disaster; at a push one could imagine an afro-psyche group managing a half decent disco-funk record, but the soft rock stylings of America’s west coast are surely a step to far. But in reality, the planets aligned and circumstances fell perfectly into place, as the combination of a band of talented musicians, at the height of their creative powers wrote eight perfect songs, each a snapshot of that era, but completely unlike anything else around.