|Lucie Eyenga, 1973|
Reading the aforementioned post I was reminded of an interview we had with Papa Noel in 1992, and especially the proud tone of his voice when he mentioned this anthology. He brought this up spontaneously after we had talked about his position within the T.P. O.K. Jazz 'in the shadow' of le Grand Maître... This small part of the interview can be found here.
I think it is a misconception, however, to talk about the stars from the time of - and including - Wendo as Papa Noel's "old friends". He was after all only 18 when he had his first (minor) hit with "Clara Badimwene", alongside the great Léon Bukasa. There must have been a difference, if not in age, at least in standing and fame.
Personally I have very mixed feelings about this collection. In the wider perspective of all the music of the world it is certainly an album which is close to the top. But within the narrower scope of Congolese music the top can not been seen from the level where these tracks are situated. And in a one-on-one comparison with the 1950's originals all of these tracks - in my opinion - fall short of the mark as mere watered-down copies of the fullblooded originals.
But please feel free to make up your own mind. Here is the second 'Tome' of the Anthology (the first can be found on the Freedomblues blog):
Anthology Tome 2
To illustrate my point about the falling short of the mark, I am adding five tracks by Lucie Eyenga, who in the wake of Mobutu's zairisation was renamed Eyenga Moseka.
All five of these tracks were re-recorded for the Anthologie. The enthousiasm and energy of these 1950's tracks is - again in my opinion - completely lost in the re-recorded versions of 1974. The most spectacular example of this is the brilliantly jumpy and joyful "Kamsoda", - which in the Anthology version never gets off the ground....
5 tracks by Lucie Eyenga
But I must add: I am a sucker for any song from 1950's Congo.