In case you are wondering about the fall in the frequency of the posting on this blog, I have recently purchased a new second-hand VHS recorder, and have been messing about with the digitisation of video-cassettes. I hope and intend to share the fruits of these efforts (which are in an exploratory phase right now) at a later moment.
In the meantime here is a short interludum.
With this record by Ry-Co Jazz I get the same uneasy feeling I had when I first heard the CD on the RetroAfric label (Retro10CD, 1996). In fact even slightly more so than that CD. It's not that I don't like the CD; there are quite a few rather nice songs on it. And there is the added pleasure of Gary Stewart's informative liner notes (which is a thing that is missing from a lot, if not most, Congolese albums...). It is just that there is a certain akwardness about it, which I for a long time credited to the Parisian influence. I saw a comparison with the recordings of Kabasele with the African Team, and the feeling of missed opportunities I often get when listening to those records.
But now, many years later, I suspect bad timing may have something to do with my uneasiness. This single is a good example of this. Both sides feature a cover of a song originally recorded by the O.K. Jazz. The A-side is a cover of Dele Pedro's "Tu Bois Beaucoup" (which is also on the CD, by the way), which even within the repertoire of the O.K. Jazz is not a typical song. The appeal of the song is one of a gimmicky type. Musically it is not one of the highlights of Congolese music of the early 1960s. In the version of Ry-Co Jazz the gimmick is watered-down, and the result falls absolutely short of the mark.
The B-side is a cover of Franco's 1960 classic "Liwa Ya Wech". This song has been covered by artists in several countries. I have even heard a Guinean version (and I don't mean the version by Miriam Makeba). In a way this is surprising as this is a very personal song, about the death of a personal friend of Franco. If you ask me the personal touch and even intimacy of the original is completely flattened by this version, even it is sung by Essous, an ex-member of the O.K. Jazz. Although I am not averse to organs, the one on this single does not lift me off the floor and definitely sounds very dated, very late 1960s.
All in all I don't feel all that Ry-Co after listening to these two songs....
DEBS 45 DD 159
PS: Who is this "Mawa"?