Essential Afro-Funk Reissues and Compilations
In the past decade, there has been a growth of music lovers with big, hungry ears ready to gobble up all the classic Afro-funk and Afrobeat from West Africa they can get their lobes around. While we aren’t sure whether it’s a result or the cause of this feeding frenzy, the volume of amazing reissues and compilations coming out on boutique labels over the past few years has been so thick that even we at Afropop struggle at times to keep up! Here is a brief list of some of our favorite reissues and compilations of Afrobeat and Afro-funk, primarily from Ghana, but also including Nigeria, Togo and Benin. Enjoy!
Ebo Taylor- Ebo Taylor “Originally released in 1977, Ebo Taylorʼs self-titled album is a rarity that truly exposes the genius of the Ghanaian producer and arranger.”
Ebo Taylor & Uhuru Yenzu- Conflict The classic Ebo Taylor album, originally released in 1980, reissued on CD, vinyl and digital download.
C.K. Mann and His Carousel 7 , C.K. Mann- Funky Highlife “Mann was known for blending authentic African music with European influences. He was inspired by Latin American music and created a style all of his own.”
Although not re-releases, these new Ebo Taylor albums are noteworthy contributions to the genre!
Ebo Taylor- Love and Death “…One of the true greats of Ghanaian music, Ebo Taylor…first ever internationally released studio album.”
Ebo Taylor-Appiah Kwa Bridge “Appia Kwa Bridge, released in 2012, is a strident return from the Ghanaian highlife guitar legend.”
Ebo Taylor- Life Stories “This compilation revisits this heyday of Taylor’s work, focusing on his solo albums and some of his lesser known side projects…”
Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo De Cotonou- Contonou Club “The greatest band in Benin’s history, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo…releases its first studio album in over twenty years…Produced in Paris entirely on vintage analogue studio equipment…”
Nigeria 70s: Sweet Times. One part of Strut’s four-volume Nigeria 70s compilations.
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley- Simigwa The game-changing first album by Ghana’s funky-highlife/hip-life creative master, originally released on Essiebons, re-released on vinyl.
Marijata- This is Marijata “The rawest and the heaviest of all African funk records…”
Hedzoleh Soundz “Hedzoleh Soundz were one of the first and most original ‘Afro’ bands from 1970s Ghana playing an unusual mix of traditional music from across the country tinged with Western rock.”
Sweet Talks – The Kusum Beat “Sweet Talks were amongst the top five most popular bands in Ghana during the 1970s having recorded a string of hit albums. The Kusum Beat was originally released in 1974 and became a household favourite with heavy emphasis on the ‘Afro’ through its traditional rhythms and motifs, blended together into a modern mix that combined highlife, funk and Afrobeat.”
Edzayawa – Projection One “This extraordinary, dark, moody and experimental offering from teenage Ghanaian afro rock outfit Edzayawa is one of the more obscure and unique releases that Soundway have brought back to life over the past 10 years.”
ROB – Make it Fast, Make it Slow “Soundway reissue ROB’s second album for the first time outside Ghana on CD, vinyl and digital. ROB was an enigmatic recording artist from Ghana who cut two albums…Neither of these were big domestic hits at the time and have since become prized amongst collectors in recent years.”
Legends of Benin “A collection of super rare and highly danceable masterpieces recorded between 1969 -1981 by four legendary composers from Benin…”
“Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou is arguably West Africa’s best-kept secret…” Not anymore, thanks largely to the series of Analog Africa compilations and reissues.
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Vol.2: Echos Hypnotique. “The riches of Vodoun rhythms are of such magnitude that one would never get to the bottom of it – we’ve tried.” Vincent Ahehehinnou – Lead Singer
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo Vol. 3: The Skeletal Essences of Afro-Funk, 1969-198
Knitting Factory Records
The Lijadu Sisters- Danger, Mother Africa, Sunshine, Horizon Unlimited. These are reissues of the four albums that Nigerian twins the Lijadu Sisters originally recorded and released on the Nigerian Afrodisia label in the 1970s.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti– Knitting Factory has been doing an amazing job releasing pretty much everything the founder of Afrobeat ever recorded, on CD and vinyl. Check it out, if you have somehow missed this!