In 1981, celebrating the 25th birthday of his orchestra, Franco released a series of four LP's: Le Quart de Siècle de Franco de Mi Amor et le T.P. O.K. Jazz, Volumes 1 to 4.
To commemorate the anniversary of his passing away, 20 years ago on October 12, I am posting this series.
Most of this material is from the first half of 1981, except "Lolaka" and "Mamba", which were recorded earlier.
On every volume is one composition by Franco. The only two other songs he played on are "Bimansha" by Josky Kiambukuta and "Bina Na Ngai Na Respect" by Ntesa Dalienst. On these six songs Franco played mi-solo. The solo guitar is played by Gerry Dialungana, except on "Tailleur" (Papa Noel), and the rhythm guitar is played by Gégé Mangaya, except on "Bimansha" (Makosso). It is my guess on these songs (and more) Mpudi Decca played bass, Ntoya drumkit and Bosuma Dessoin percussion. Also note Josky on maracas on "Bimansha" and "Respect".
Many of these songs were released on cd, mostly with equalising, several of them shamelessly cut short; most notably "Bimansha", where Franco's guitar solo is cut short by three minutes (like cutting a piece off a Van Gogh painting to make it fit the room), but also "Mujinga". The songs were never released in the combinations of songs that Franco had intended. The original albums were all torn apart. Here they are in their original Edipop form.
Several of these songs have been posted on YouTube, with some additional information (or explanations by the composers) here and there, most notably "Tailleur" with an insightful translation into English (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dErA-rwenw). Also, live versions of some of these songs can be found on my YT pages ("Bimansha" (version 1), "Bimansha" (version 2), "Mamba", "Mandola").
Note: The copper sounding like they were playing from the corridor and the reeds from even further down the hallway on "Ilousse", "Katebe" and "Tuti" was, according to Ntesa Dalienst, a mixing error, during recording I'm sure, because he added that Franco said it must have been meant to be, so he did not want second takes to be recorded. (Franco did most of his recording in one take in those days.)
There is also a Quart de Siècle Volume 5, but that was released at a later date and does not contain any recordings that Franco made in 1981.
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 1 (POP 01)
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 2 (POP 02)
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 3 (POP 03)*
Le Quart Siècle Vol. 4 (POP 04)
This post is also dedicated to Jerry Zee, without whom this post would not have been possible.
* new link November 2, 2010