A double helping this time. These two volumes were compiled from singles originally released by the Société Ivoirienne du Disque (SID), a company founded in 1974, only two years before the release of these lp's. There's quite a bit of information on the back covers, so I'll concentrate on the music.
If you listen to these albums you won't be surprised when I tell you I prefer the second volume. It's not just because I am not looking for "songs ranging in influence from jazz styles ... to rock .. to the songwriting skills of rock's poets .. to soul, r&b and reggae". I got bored with that at about the same time when these lp's were released.
It's also because the second volume has far more variation in styles than the first.
Having said this, I would like to add that there is plenty to enjoy on the first volume. I like the ballad by Guéhi Jean et les Super Banty's de L'Ouest, and I love the two songs by l'Ivoiro Star, especially the jumpy "Dogbo Zo N'Wene". "La Guerre Et La Paix Ne Sont Pas Pareilles" by Théodore Boumbhé is amusing rather than nice (although I like the guitar), but it helps if you don't listen to the French lyrics.
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The second volume gets off to a great start with a great track by Amadée Pierre and his Ivoiro Star. Amadée (who also featured on the Ivoire Retro lp I posted earlier) is one of those artists who has few weaker songs, and I will certainly post more of this Ivorian star in the future.
Besides artists from Ivory Coast the album contains four tracks by stars from other West African countries: Moussa Doumbia from Mali with his version of "Samba" titled "Yeye Mousso" (I love the shouted chorus), Guinean guitarist Kouyaté Sory (more of him coming up soon!), Nigerian butcher (I'm not kidding!) Yekini Aremu and his apala group (no match for the likes of Haruna Ishola...) and Guinean (?) singer Fanta Sakho.
The remaining tracks - all from Ivory Coast - are also very diverse: there is a great Ghanian style ballad and a contrasting track in an uptempo typical Ivorian beat, both by Bony Pascal & Les Cantadors de la Capitale and a track in lingala by Jean Raph et Les Zoulous, who have clearly listened to a wide range of Congolese bands.
The last two tracks are traditionals taken from Bété folklore, - but also two very different songs.
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PS: I'm not too sure about the relevance of the album titles in a country with less than 40 percent Muslims....