Alternative West Africa
A welcome departure from the typical archival collections of West African music, which tend to focus either on acoustic traditional forms or Fela Kuti clones, Love's A Real Thing - Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa (Luaka Bop/V2) covers a broad range of music loosely connected by place and time, namely the early 70s. The highlife influence bubbling beneath the surface is a constant, but there are also elements of James Brown-style funk in Moussa Dombia 's Keleya, Cuban son in No. 1 de No. 1 's Guajira Ven, and blazing Band of Gypsies scorch on Ofo the Black Company 's raging Allah Wakbarr. Bring on Volume 2!
Bataan bounces back
Just the other day while hanging with some fellow Nuyorican soul fans, the conversation turned to the subject of what happened to the greats of the 60s boogaloo scene. With all the reissues coming out of Europe over the last couple of years, you'd think there would be more comeback bids. As if on cue, a new recording from East Harlem's king of Latin R&B, Joe Bataan , just appeared on the Spanish Vampi Soul label, which is great news. Even better, Call My Name is raw and funky just like his late-60s Fania classics, thanks largely to the involvement of engineer Gabriel Roth , who gave the session a heaping helping of his patented Daptone grit. Let the welcome-back celebrations begin!
Unless you live in Finland or pay close attention to the musician credits on recordings by the Jimi Tenor Group , NuSpirit Helsinki, Teddy Rok 7 and Quintessence, the name Jukka Eskola won't mean much, but the Helsinki-based flugelhorn blower's tastefully boppish runs have been a hallmark of the Five Corners Quintet's classy recordings for the last couple of years. The just-released Buttercup single b/w 1974 (Ricky-Tick) finds him grooving in more of a dance-floor direction than the Five Corners while maintaining a soulful small-combo 70s fusion feel that bodes well for his self-titled full-length debut due out on Free Agent later this year.
The fast-rapping missing link between Big Daddy Kane and Pharoahe Monch, Percee P is one of the great underappreciated MCs of the 90s; he made the most of his infrequent guest cameos but never hit the big time. The excellent Legendary Status (MTA) comp gives Percee P the opportunity, as track selector, to show you what you've missed, including killer live freestyles and memorable moments on wax with the aforementioned Kane and Monch along with Large Professor, Jurassic 5, Lord Finesse, D-Nique, Aesop Rock, Planet Asia, Kool Keith and others. Don't sleep on his new Perseverance disc, due soon from Stones Throw.