December 31, 2009

Catchy Rhythms 2

A few days later than I had hoped, here is the second volume of "Catchy Rhythms from Nigeria". Unlike many volume 2's this is at least as good as the first. For one thing, it has two more songs than volume 1. And it has three songs by one of my favourite highlife artists: Victor Olaiya.

And great songs they are too.
You may remember my earlier posts of some tracks of this great Nigerian star (and if you don't, I advise you to make up for this oversight a.s.a.p.). The three tracks on this 10 inch lp are of at least the same quality. My favourite of the three is "Mumude", a near-perfect masterpiece. But "Omolanke" and "Cool Cats' Invitation" are in the same top class of highlife music.

There is lots more to enjoy in this volume. For one there are the Ishie Brothers with two songs (one Ibo and the other Hausa) in a very different, but also superb - guitar, banjo and cigarette tin (!) based - style. Of the remaining five tracks I would like to mention Julius O. Araba, who also featured on the first volume, and Ganiya Kale and his 'Guinea Mambo Orchestra' (love that name) with a track that suggests a connection with apala music. But this may be due to the use of the agidigbo (which was also used in apala music).
And then there is Sammy Akpabot ("well-known from radio and films" - I wouldn't be surprised if this, and this, was the same guy!), whose advice to "save for a rainy day" seems somewhat dated in view of the instability of the present-day banking system.
The two remaining songs are both sung by Joe Nez, "The Voice of Nigeria" according to the informative sleeve notes. Personally I have some doubts about this label; and I will even go as far as stating that the song of Joe and his own Trio (with a piano player who only plays two notes*) is the least interesting of this collection. The one with 'Baby-Face' Paul and his 'Top-Toppers' is enjoyable for the orchestration.

If you start the new year with this album you can't go wrong.

Philips P 13401 R

Happy New Year to you all!

* and you have to listen very hard to hear them.


John B. said...

Great collection! I'll have to disagree with you about Joe Nez's contributions. He's not well-known, but is much-loved among the IGbo people.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for all these wonderful LPs...
My best wishes for 2010.
Kostas from Greece.

george said...

Happy New Year!
Many many joyfull to you, good health and a lot of good music!
George from Moscow said...

Happy New Year, Wrldserv!

Thank you for every piece of music and all your comments!


Anonymous said...

I have great respect for John B. but on this occasion he is ill-informed about the contributions of Joe Nez and his popularity in Nigeria. His sudden death shortened his musical career but he was a mega star in every sense of the word and famously known for the medley track "Business Trip". An artist that briefly entertained more than 10 million people with some great hits can never be described as not well-known! The Igbo people deserves some merit and recognition regardless of whichever side you are on!

John B. said...

Anon: I meant to say not well-known outside Nigeria, as, say the Orientals or Osadebe are.

gracenotes said...

Beautiful album, packed with a cornucopia of rare stuff! Many thanks again, and Happy New Year to you.

oro said...

J'ai oublié de te souhaiter la meilleure année possible. Merci pour tes courriés rares, intéressant, documentés, qui ont permis à des milliers d'entre nous de découvrir des trésors oubliés.
J'éspère te surprendre, en 2010, avec de nouvelles et royales musiques du Dahomey...
Longue vie

Anonymous said...

The song 'Save for a rainy day' was indeed by the same Professor Samuel Ekpe Akpabot who was Nigeria's first Professor of Music.
As well as highlife, Professor Akpabot also composed classical music, including 'Three Nigerian Dances', which are on the 1995 CD by the National Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (Marco Polo, 8.223832).
Regards from Surulere Boy!