This is a runner-up in the Worst Sleeve competition, and not just because of the cheap colours. Of course Polydor Kenya has a reputation to uphold in this field, with a long line of cheap looking album covers.
In this case the cheapness is aggravated by the apparent incorrectness of the information. I mean, "8 originalhits"? Do they mean over the two volumes (there is also a volume 1*)? Or are they referring to the fact that these tracks were originally released as singles with part one on side A and part two on B (and I am not suggesting this was the case)?
Luckily the exterior lack of quality is generously compensated by the quality of the musical offerings. Four top tracks by top artists, from East ánd Central Africa. All tracks are in that rich, guitar-based East African 'rumba' style, - but this doesn't mean that there is no variety.
The album opens with "Mwenda Pole", a laid-back classic by Wilson Peter and Simba Wanyika. By contrast the second track, "Mabibi Za Watu" by the great Moreno Matamba and Moja One is nervous and charged with a dramatic tension.
Side two opens with Sam Mangwana, who although singing in swahili manages to remain one hundred percent himself: a master entertainer. My guess is that "Furaha Ya Bibi" was recorded in the same session as "Masai" on "Kweya" (which was released in the same year).
The album is rounded off by a song by Laban Ochuka and the Maroon Commandos. Their "Naenda Safari" has a determined pace befitting a band with military roots.
This album offers more proof that you shouldn't judge a record by its sleeve....
Polydor POLP 547
*which in my opinion is not as good as this second volume. But, if you like, I will post this later.
Various Mali from K7s (2006)
5 hours ago