Review: First Time Out by Theodora Ifudu first came out on a Nigerian pressing back in 1981, and it has been regarded a classic and a point of inspiration ever since. Not only does the album capture the rise of boogie and disco in her native homeland, but it also pushed the classic sound onto a newer, fresher platform that is still sounding somewhat different to her contemporaries. Our favourite tune on the A-side has to be "Gbata Ngwa (Egwu Abia)", its rolling bassline and bittersweet vocals working wonders, but the sounds of "That Man" and "The Way We Are" are equally ear-opening arrangements that will undoubtedly continue to have relevance into the next decade. A majestic album from a multi-talented Nigerian woman.
Review: PMG reissue Kelenkye Band's Moving World LP. In 1974, Augustus Kerry Taylor gathered the hottest musicians in Ghana and recorded an album of the heaviest, funkiest, American influenced music. He designed the cover with Fela Kuti and even released it on his own label. Moving World according to PMG 'is a funky, disparate album that exudes a rare warmth, enthusiasm and togetherness.' Of the album, Accra's leading DJ, Charlie Sam declared his mind 'well and truly boggled.' Although the band was comprised of some of the city's finest musicians, they never recorded another album. Augustus Kerry Taylor shut down the label and went back to designing album covers. But on the Moving World LP, they delivered something that many recognise as a seminal moment in '70s Ghanaian groove.
Review: The latest reissue from the PMG camp comes from Steve Monite, an obscure Nigerian artist whose most famous track, the brilliant "Only You", was one of the highlights of Soundway's brilliant Doing It In Lagos compilation. Monite's sole album, recorded and released in 1984, remains something of an unheralded classic, with the Nigerian artist joining the dots between boogie, Beach Boys style dream pop, electrop and, on the previously mentioned title track, reggae-boogie. Arguably the album's most potent moments, a pair of instrumental wig-outs, pay tribute to the celebratory, hedonistic thrills of vintage New York disco.
Review: Sierra Leone's Geraldo Pino was one of the biggest names in West African music in the late '60s and early '70s, developing a James Brown-influenced Afro-funk sound that is said to have heavily influenced Fela Kuti. By 1978, his best years were arguably behind him, but he was still able to stay on top of developments in American music. Boogie Fever, his final full-length, did a great job in fusing his usual organ-heavy sound with popular dancefloor styles of the time, including New York disco and Jamaican reggae. As a result, Pino was responsible for one of the best Afro-disco albums of all time, which here gets a first CD release. For those who love African music - and particularly Afro-beat - it should be an essential purchase.