The UK-based Soundway label, responsible for the excellent Ghana Soundz archival series documenting the lively Accra Afro-funk scene of the 70s, moves on to explore the jazz, soul and highlife fusions in Nigeria during the same period in the excellent Afro Baby (Soundway) comp. Naturally, there's a Fela Kuti track - the charging single-only joint Fogo Fogo from 72 will do nicely - but there are also great finds in Thony Shorby Nyenwi 's wah-whipped No Wrong Show and the Mebusas ' trippy thriller Son Of Mr. Bull Dog, whose off-kilter horn stabs suggest Lagos was not impervious to the LSD trade. The simultaneously issued Nu Afrobeat Experience collection covers the exciting recent recordings of contemporary Nigerian artists whose adventurous Afrobeat experiments indicate that Fela's music is in good hands.
Lubbock or leave it
Back in the spring of 72, Texas troubadours Jimmie Dale Gilmore , Butch Hancock and Joe Ely had been playing Townes Van Zandt songs at house parties as the Flatlanders for less than a year when one of their shows at Austin's One Knite bar was fortuitously taped by the owner. Admittedly, the recording quality isn't up to pro standards, and for some reason Hancock leaves the singing to Gilmore and Ely, but the opportunity to hear the legendary group loosely waltz their way through tunes by Hank Williams, Jesse Fuller, Sam Cooke and Harry Choates makes Live 72 (New West) a worthwhile addition to the Flatlanders' skimpy list of available output. You can almost taste the Lone Star and barbecue.
That hellion Keller
There are far too many DJ mix discs and compilations where the relative obscurity of the tracks and the misguided desire for stylistic uniformity take precedence over the quality of the music presented. Top-notch rare groove selector and sussed collector Florian Keller avoids the usual pitfalls with his highly enjoyable Party-Keller Vol. 1 (Compost) disc. It's an eclectic assortment of vintage reggae, funk, zydisco, hiphop, blues, electro and French soundtrack joints that comes off more like a just-for-kicks comp from a vinyl fiend pal than another boring mix by a celebrity DJ trying to impress his jet-setting cohorts. Charming.
Brit jazz breakout
And while we're on the subject, even though both volumes of the Impressed With Gilles Peterson collections of rare British jazz have been disappointingly dull, they've served well to generate interest in the overlooked achievements of brilliant artists like Joe Harriott , Michael Garrick , Tubby Hayes , Graham Collier and Ian Carr . That's probably why the BGO label saw fit to extend its Ian Carr reissue program beyond his Nucleus work back to his classic early recordings with the Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet . BGO's recently reissued two-fer sets of Shades Of Blue coupled with Dusk Fire, and Phase III with the superb "Live" session from 69 are both worth grabbing for a fraction of what the pricey originals would cost. Hopefully, BGO will follow through with the rest of the outstanding Landsdowne series, which has been criminally out of print for decades.