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Niagara

Niagara

    This was more a project than an actual band formed by German jazz drum legend Klaus Weiss. He formerly worked with another jazz legend from his mother country, Klaus Doldinger and gained fame in the German jazz circuit of the 60s and 70s. His 1971 output with Niagara was the result of the vision to create an orchestra made entirely of drummers and percussionists. Despite the fact that there are no regular melody instruments to be heard on this album, the two lengthy compositions are arranged in such an enthralling way that they have a rather catchy and memorable feel. Among the cult drummers featured on this album are Udo Lindenberg (yes, this icon of German rock and pop started as a drummer!) and session hero Keith Forsey. Both compositions offer an ever pulsating rhythm inferno, a maelstrom of different grooves and sounds which enchant and hypnotize in equal measure. Open your mind for the ultimate rhythm experience and join in if you dare.


    “I’ve Been Loving You” sees Manford Best finally laying the ghosts of The Wings to rest and emerge as a serious player in the glittering new world of Afro boogie. Recorded in London, with Nigerian super producer, Jake Sollo, at the desk, it is a highly polished collection of disco classics, guaranteed to fill any dance floor in the world. The title track gets the party started with an irresistible bass line and chirpy horn section. Written by Best while he was still in The Wings, the song is unrecognisable from the one that topped the Nigerian charts in 1973. "Let’s Spend The Night Together" has a groove that suggests Manford has the dancefloor on his mind, not the bedroom. "I Feel Like Dancing", written by Jake Sollo and featuring the vocals of Nigerian diva, Pat Henry, is sophisticated and sexy and a stone cold classic of the era. “I’ve Been Loving You” is an extraordinary metamorphosis. Manford Best, the rough and ready guitarist from the back blocks of eastern Nigeria, emerges as a glittering ‘disco’ butterfly, ready to strut the dance floors of London – and the world.

    "First Time Out" is a cosmic soul transmission from Nigeria’s own Diana Ross, Theadora Ifudu. The arty co-host of hit TV program, ‘The Bar Beach Show’ hooked up with the guys from Monomono to created an album that is sultry, sexy and effortlessly cool. It’s a smoky, New York Soul Club on wax. A graduate of the New York film school, Ifudu considered herself an artiste, and the opening track, "Hello There!" is arresting in its cinematic scope and intriguing strangeness. After briefly channeling Miriam Makes in "Gbata Ngwa", she moves into full diva mode. "(When Will It Be) Right Time" features vocal runs that Mariah Carey would be proud of and "That Man" has a smoky, jazz club vibe. It’s easy to imagine Theadora, under a single spotlight, dazzling in a sparkling figure-hugging crowd, holding a hard-to-please New York audience in her thrall. At times funky, laidback and smooth, the greatest compliment that can be paid to "First Time Out" is that it sounds international. The musicianship is first class, the vocals faultless and the mood super smooth. Theadora Ifudu, the self-proclaimed ‘moon watcher, ragdoll and artiste’, created an Afro soul masterpiece for the ages. - Peter Moore, www.africanrevolutions.com

    S.Job Organization

    Freedom Anthem

    S. Job Organization (also known as SJOB Movement) was a rarity in the Nigerian music scene – a collective of equals in a world where band ‘leaders’ ruled the roost and ‘band boys’ had to make do with the crumbs. The name was an acronym representing each of the members – Samuel ‘Spark’ Abiloye, Johnnie Woode Olimah, Ehima ‘Blackie’ Ottah and Prince Bolarinwa Agba. They were music scene veterans and the nucleus of Sonny Okosuns’ group, Ozziddi. Unshackled, their undeniable chemistry fizzed. Listen to a SJOB record and you can almost hear band members nodding their heads in appreciation of each others’ mad skills. On "Freedom Anthem", the music is deep, dark and funky. It took inspiration from the new sounds coming out of black America with a focus that was increasingly political. "Ayamoto" calls for Africans to stand up for their rights. "Freedom Anthem" is another funky call to arms. "Oya" and "Wombiliki" incorporate local folk sounds and a tinge of reggae for a distinctly African burnish. The egalitarian structure of SJOB eventually lead to its demise. Without a dominant personality to galvanize the band, they lost direction. Johnnie Woode rejoined Ozziddi. Prince Bola joined King Sunny Ade. The great social experiment was over. But in "Freedom Anthem", the magic it created lives on.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: PMG's reissue mission continues with a fresh press of this far-out Afro funk killer from the democratic S.Job Organization. Psych-soul stompers and the odd reggae curveball make for an irresistible listen.

    Emma Ogosi has worn a lot of different hats in his career: former air force officer, guitarist with Benin-based Pogo Limited, and husband and manager of Nigerian reggae superstar, Evi-Edna Ogholi. In 1981, he donned a sequined cowboy hat and released "Nobody Knows". "Nobody Knows" is Nigeria’s best – and perhaps only – Disco Country album. Country music has always been influential in the country and Ogosi managed to channel Jim Reeves via the bright lights of Lagos’ burgeoning disco scene to produce an album of sparkling mournfulness. The album starts brightly with "You And I" and ends with "Orindo," a horn-driven dance floor filler. "Nobody Knows" and "A Lonely Child" venture into ‘you done me wrong’ territory. And you can imagine Kenny Rogers covering "Give A Little", albeit wearing flares and platforms and a moustache instead of a beard. Overall, though, Nobody Knows is as disco as the sharp suit and gull-wing collar Emma is wearing on the cover. But don’t be fooled – there are rhinestones on that there glitter ball.

    Ahmed Fakroun

    Ahmed Fakroun

    Insanely popular across the Maghreb, name-checked in international spy novels and beloved of music adventurers like David Byrne, Libyan superstar Ahmed Fakroun is the most astounding raï-disco-funk pioneer you never heard of. His 1983 album, "Mots D'Amour", recently reissued by PMG, is regarded as a global fusion classic, and has had the whole Piccadilly staff (along with Natasha Bat For Lashes and Duncan Dutch Uncles) doing some sort of weird shop conga for weeks now. Well, the joy doesn't end there, and PMG have persuaded the Libyan legend to put together this self-titled anthology of songs recorded across Europe in the late 70’s. The grooves are slower, sweeter and lower slung with Fakroun’s multi-instrumentalist chops on the saz, mandol and darbouka drum truly coming to the fore. 
    In amongst the exotic and esoteric grooves within, we have a welcome return to vinyl for two of Ahmed’s rarest and most sought-after 7”s. The Ned Doheny-via-Benghazi, West Coast grooving of "Nisyan" rubs shoulders with the Tommy Vance produced Balearic classic "Awedny" - alive with haunting flutes and relaxed funk. Elsewhere reggae-tinged lilters of "Falah" and "Yu Hussad" beam sunshine straight from your speakers and "Njoom Al Leyel" boasts a stoned funk one only finds in pre-Italo Italy. "Ahmed Fakroun" is the perfect late night, come-down album. Especially after a hot and sweaty evening in a raï club, somewhere in North Africa. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: After supplying a party power-up with a much needed reissue of "Mots D'Amour", PMG team up with Ahmed Fakroun for an anthology of the Libyan legend's late 70s output. Alongside rare as hens teeth Balearic belters "Awedny", "Nisyan" and "Sinini" we're treated to a whole set of low slung, lightly spiced North African grooves.

    Get on down! PMG reissue a true African masterpiece here, taking us all the way back to 1976 with BLO's "Phase IV". Originally released on Afrodisia in the height of their all conquering mid seventies period, "Phase IV" saw Berkley Jones team up with Laolu Akins, Lemmy Jackson, Mike Odumosu once again for some proper dancefloor badness. There you are just minding your own business, lost in the groove of opening cut "Trace Of Suicide", when the hottest analogue synth solo EVER enters the scene and rocks you into next week. The slower, steadier "Scandi Boogie" showcases the full scale brilliance of Berkley Jones' guitar work, while the extensive and expansive "Music Makes You Happy" is the kind of spiritual jazz-funk masterpiece you'd hear Harvey play as the sun comes up. If you're into heavyweight militant funk, then head straight for "Move Up", a proper head nodding, fist clenching number you'd expect to hear Theo play for about 9 days. All in, it's all killer, no filler Afro grooves from Berkley and the boys!

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Originally released on the mighty Afrodisia in the mid seventies, "Phase IV" is a masterpiece of infectious African grooves. Militant funk, expansive disco and soothing jazz funk are all infused with the sweet sounds of the mother continent - dope!


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