June 2019

Kyu Sakamoto: Sukiyaki And Other Japanese Hits
€20.90
Kyu Sakamoto : Sukiyaki And Other Japanese Hits
1960's orchestrated pop tracks with Japanese vocals: If you are curious how Japanese pop music sounded in the early 60s, here is one of the most popular examples. So this reissue will hopefully open new channels for fans of abundantly orchestrated 60s pop to listen to Kyu Sakamoto, who sadly perished in an aircraft accident in 1985, which is up to now the biggest event of its kind in flight history. Anyway, what do we get to hear from this man, very young but already experienced at the time? Mysterious, soulful songs with big orchestral arrangements, tunes that show elements of latin music such as bossa nova, typical elegant Doo Wop and pop ballads of the day with a heartwarming melodies, some exotic tunes that draw influence from what western people might consider Japanese music, real or fictional. The most popular tune that became a hit all over the world is certainly ?Sukiyaki?, which was a big success in a German language version by THE BLUE DIAMONDS, a Dutch band of Indonesian origin. He did not spare any style popular in the 50s up to the early 60s. You'll hear elements of chanson among many others. The whole album is relaxed and beautiful with a friendly expression. The orchestra, the big band, whoever accompanies Kyu Sakamoto dresses all the compositions sung with passion and a pliable voice into a garment of absolute elegance. This album definitely gets you to feel great and joyful and fluffy. The use of Japanese language for the lyrics might more appeal to native speakers and those with a fondness for exotic aspects coming with albums but it just makes this record even more outstanding. It's a colorful and memorable effort.
LP (Vinyl)
Manford Best: Come Go With Me
€22.90
Manford Best : Come Go With Me
reissue of 1978 Nigerian Afrobeat/Disco/Reggae album: With the Super Wings in mutiny and a trial for the manslaughter of his former bandmate, Spuds Nathan, still hanging over his head, Manford Best came out swinging with Come Go With Me. It’s a chirpy, calypso-influenced insight into the state of his mind and his first solo album. Recorded at Godiac Studios with the guys from Rock Town Express and a few of the Super Wings, Come Go With Me was the first album recorded on a new Tascam system that Goddy Oku had just bought back from London. The sound is crisp, clean and bright, perfectly suited to tracks like ‘Come Go With Me’ and ‘Good Morning’ and a welcome respite to the darker lyrics on ‘Nobody Cares’ and ‘Far Far Far Away.’ One of the stranger cuts is ‘There’s a Woman On My Mind (Mother)’. Manford regarded his mother as something of prophetess and would act instantly and without hesitation on the revelations in her ‘dreams’. Come Go With Me was self-financed and released on Manford Best’s own MacSeries Records label. Only 1,000 copies were pressed and he distributed them from the back of a Toyota van himself. A rare Afro gem, deserving of its place in the sun again.
LP (Vinyl)
Masisi Mass Funk: I Want You Girl
€22.90
Masisi Mass Funk : I Want You Girl
reissue of 1979 Nigerian Afrobeat/Funk album: In mid-seventies, Nigerian bands came and went with alarming regularity, rising meteorically from the slums to stardom and falling back again just as quickly. Masisi Mass Funk from Anamara State was one such band. But during their brief moment in the stratosphere, they produced a funk gem in I Want You Girl. The band was championed by Ebere Ikoro from the Hygrades. He took them under his wing after an ill-advised collaboration with Soly Dibong. They were originators not imitators, he said. He produced I Want You Girl and played on it as well. It’s easy to see what appealed to Ebere Ikoro. The title track has a Manfred Mann sixties vibe. ‘Care To Love Me’ is a wonky, off-kilter reggae calypso number. And ‘Ungrateful People’ bounces along with a Sly And The Family Stone chirpiness. However, it’s the gospel numbers that really stand out. ‘Heavenly Father’ rocks out with strident keyboards and plaintive vocals. And the relentless ‘He Is To Be Praised’ is an afro-funk-rock-gospel monster, guaranteed to raise your eyes to heaven while keeping your feet firmly planted on the dance floor. Sadly, Masisi Mass Funk only released one album, their star burning as quickly as it did brightly. They went on to form First Planet, an Afro Boogie band that tore up Lagos dancefloors in the ‘80s. But that’s another story for another day. - Peter Moore
LP (Vinyl)
Mort Garson: Electronic Hair Pieces
€20.90
Mort Garson : Electronic Hair Pieces
reissue of 1969 Space-Age Electronic album: He was the master of the moog and a pioneer in electronic music from the late 60s and 70s where he participated in some unforgotten projects such as LUCIFER, THE ZODIAC, ATARAXIA and PLANTASIA. The following review centers on his album “Electronic Hair pieces” from 1969 on which he tickles your senses with instrumental adaptions of the songs from the musical “Hair”. He performs all the tunes on a contemporary moog synthesizer system even with electronic percussion. Since you might recognize the one or another melody even if you have never experienced the original musical but all in all these adaptions may feel slightly bizarre to you. There are these simple but beautiful pop melodies upfront, a ticking rhythm and then it gets weird with a few layers of chirring moog lines and some hissing and threateningly droning sounds far in the back. But all these little components are there. Most wicked tune on side A is the melancholic “Three – Five – Zero – Zero”, a mixture of proto industrialistic metallic noises, reverberant electronic percussions and rather gentle melodic parts where the moog carols away. It leaves you in a disturbed mood. And even though the well known musical songs are mostly lightweight in nature, the creaking and pulsating main melodies, pinging accompaniments and static rhythms take you far away to the belly of an intelligent machine. You may find yourself onboard of a giant spaceship or drifting through a colorful synthetic dream world. Somehow the music still bears a warmth that became unusual later when synthesizer music developed further by the late 70s and early 80s. Mort Garson knows to perform his adaptions with passion and a depth that is an exciting joy to explore. It works with his own compositions you can find on “Black mass” by LUCIFER for example and it works here with a bunch of pop melodies rearranged for a battery of synthesizers. Still this is definitely a bizarre trip and may feel scary to “Hair” aficionados but venturous lovers of the more experimental late 1960s music territories will dig it due to the great backing compositions and the outstanding performance.
LP (Vinyl)
Mary Afi Usuah: African Woman
€22.90
Mary Afi Usuah : African Woman
reissue of 1978 Nigerian Afrobeat/Funk/Disco album: Mary Afi Usuah trained as an a opera singer at the prestigious St Cecilia Academy in Rome and spent 13 years touring Europe with artists like Duke Ellington and Deep Purple. She matched vocal chops with Robert Plant performing with Led Zeppelin and blew away the top names on the Lagos scene when she returned to Nigeria. She also broke a few hearts with her killer smile, if some accounts are to be believed. African Woman marshals these experiences into an exceptionally powerful and diverse album. From the Tina Turner stomp of ‘What’s A Woman To Do’, to the Aretha-style musings of the title track, Mary takes everything she learned on the road to tell her story about her continent in a distinctly African manner. The boys from Akwassa were on hand to ensure that everything was kept extra tight and funky. Mary Afi Usuah only released two albums but she is undeniably one of the greatest female singers the African continent has produced. African Woman serves as her legacy, along with the remarkable number of Nigerian female singers she mentored and inspired. - Peter Moore, www.africanrevolutions.com / "I met MARY AFI USUAH in 1979 while I was the lead singer with TEE MAC COLLECTION. We were based at SURULERE NIGHT CLUB in Lagos, Nigeria. She came in from Calabar in the Cross river state. She was a beauty with her afro hair and had a very strong voice and very powerful on stage. Her performance was electrifying. She did a lot of shows with us and together we got the crowd rocking. A very dark complexioned lady, she was full of life and love. Her smiles would sweep any man off her feet instantly and I immediately recognized a talent that go all over the world. Her music is a blend of African rhythms, soul and funk with heavy bassline. I am glad to let you know that the vynil you have in your hands now contains music that will tickle all ears for a very long time. Happy listening." - Steve Black
LP (Vinyl)
Dr. Adolf Ahanotu: Sensation
€22.90
Dr. Adolf Ahanotu : Sensation
reissue of 1986 Nigerian Boogie/Funk/Afrobeat album: At a time when bandleaders in Nigeria used titles as an affectation, Dr. Adolf Ahanotu was the real deal. He had a PhD in music compilation and Master’s degrees in education and communication. He also played a mean tenor sax, an instrument he mastered touring Owerri with the Mirabels. Ahanotu’s scholarly background is apparent in the impeccable arrangements and the way each track is labelled with its musical type. The banging opening track, ‘Sensation’ is disco, notes the helpful doctor. The legendary ‘Ijere’ is to be considered Remire or Afro Jazz. ‘Litany of Freedom’ is reggae, ‘Cupid’ is rock and ‘Tropical Moonlight’ classified as the blues. The mandatory ode to the nation, ‘Happy Nigeria’, is labelled as calypso. But these are not dry, scholarly pieces. ‘Sensation’ reeks of dance floor freakiness not the hallowed halls of academia. And listen to the pitch bend craziness on ‘Injere’. Sure, Dr. Ahanotu had studied the rules. But he wasn’t afraid to break them. From the freaked-out opening seconds of the title track you are left in no doubt: The doctor is in the house. Mastered and produced by Goddy Oku. - Peter Moore
LP (Vinyl)
Aigbe Lebarty: Unity
€22.90
Aigbe Lebarty : Unity
reissue 1979 Nigerian Funk/Highlife/Afrobeat album: In 1979, long-time Highlife veteran Aigbe Lebarty decided to try his hand at high-energy disco funk. Checking the Lebartone Aces at the door, he borrowed the Sex Bombers from Prince Omo Lawal-Osula and created Unity, a sure-fire dance floor stomper that channels ‘Ring My Bell’ into a clarion cry for, well, unity ... and a good time. The title track is the undisputed highlight of the album. It rattles along in a wonky, skittish fashion, with the high-pitched toms dueling with the Sex Bombers in a musical game of Space Invaders. ‘His Highness Erediauwa 1 Oba Of Benin (Part 1 &2)’, sees Aigbe slips back into Highlife like a comfortable pair of slippers.
LP (Vinyl)
Akwassa: La'Ila
€22.90
Akwassa : La'Ila
reissue of 1975 Nigerian Funk/Afrobeat album: Akwassa were among the best Afro-Beat bands coming from Nigeria. They released La'ila in 1975 and were one of the early Nigerian Funk bands to get an album out. They were related to the Heads Funk Band and most members were part of both bands. They managed to release two albums as Akwassa. Their debut La'ila came out on a well known Afro-Beat label Afrodisia Records. Akwassa were originally a duo made of Felix Day (guitar and vocals) and Kevin Coburn (organ, synthesizer and vocals). Felix Day is actually Feladey, the guitarist in Aktion (another top notch Nigerian band reissued by PMG). On La'ila the band used a lot of synthesizers and the overall sound is very pleasing. Overall the album has a raw and unpolished sound, but that's what brings that certain spark for being among the very best in the Afro-Beat genre.
LP (Vinyl)
Akwassa: In The Groove
€21.90
Akwassa : In The Groove
reissue of 1977 Nigerian Funk/Afrobeat album: Nigeria has been one of these African countries with a rich western oriented music scene spawning some highly praised garage rock acts like OFEGE and some hot blooded steaming funk acts. One of these groups taking a turn on music that was happening a few thousand miles west in the USA about five or six years prior was AKWASSA and here we gotta listen to their second album “In the groove” and the title actually says it all. They play some funky music that would make James Brown (God rest his soul) or Betty Davis (Miles Davis' beautiful and highly gifted wife) go crazy for and they do it with a routine you would rather expect with American superstars. AKWASSA impress with a tight as a teenie's ass rhythm section grooving some hypnotizing beats that consist of wild percussions and an airy drumming tied together by some captivating bass lines. Upon this rhythmical basement you find a grinding organ scrubbing your senses and a clean wah wah driven guitar that erupts into fuzzed out solos from time to time. The mid ranged voice comes with a rich tone and nobody would question me if I'd tell him this was a US act. Well, okay, there is a little accent but at least his English is grammatically perfect. In the end it does not matter much for the voice is one instrument that adds a patch of color to the whole picture. How great to know this Afro Funk classic from the 70s can now be enjoyed by a young audience with an open mind. Old school funksters, take your chance, this is sheer bliss.
LP (Vinyl)
Amas: Grill
€22.90
Amas : Grill
reissue of 1981 Nigerian Afrobeat/Boogie/Disco album: Grill by Gbubemi Amas is as smooth as the red cardigan artfully slung around his shoulders on the cover. Whether he is running through the scales on a cover version of ‘Fire and Rain’, or trying on his calypso highlife moves on ‘Ereyon’, you know Amas is a man with a smooth line for every occasion. He is also a man with impeccable enunciation. Listen to ‘Slow Down’. It features one of the most cultured sound checks you will ever hear in your life – “Willy, keep the bass a little bit tighter”. That Amas is now a theatre producer and writer in Cardiff in Wales will come as no surprise. ‘Slow Down’ is a stone cold class, and an undoubted highlight, just as it was on the excellent Comb & Razor compilation, Brand New Wayo. ‘Children’ is a bright dancefloor filler. So is ‘For You’. And ‘Listen’ showcases Amas’s disco ball cassanova moves. Articulate, cultured and classy, Grill is proof that in 80s Nigeria was producing a class of boogie funk that was as sophisticated as anywhere in the world.
LP (Vinyl)
Bala Miller & The Great Music Pyrameeds Of Afrika: Pyramids
€22.90
Bala Miller & The Great Music Pyrameeds Of Afrika : Pyramids
reissue of 1979 Nigerian Afrobeat album: Bala Miller was famous for pushing boundaries. His first job was selling beer in the Muslim north. And as a musician he'd always try to sneak in 'local' flourishes while playing trumpet with Bobby Benson and Victor Olaiya. It was with his band, the Pirameeds, however, that he was able to realise his dream of incorporating northern tunes into mainstream highlife. Honed razor sharp from a residency at the Costain Club in Kuduna, the band recorded Pyramids, a breathtaking fusion of Hausa rhythms, jazz and funk. With its haunting trumpet line, tribal drums and imploring Hausa chants, 'Ikon Allah', the power of God, is Bala Miller vision writ large. 'Yo Gboko' is a New York-style street drama, played out on the dusty streets of Northern Nigeria. 'Opportunity Knocks' is a playful burst of ska and 'Stretch Your Nose' is a raucous James Brown fable about the dangers of lying. Bala Miller went on to become one of Nigeria's best-loved personalities. The Costain Club became a renowned meeting place for northern musicians. But his greatest legacy remain Pyramids, an opus that introduced Hausa rhythms and stories to the rest of Nigeria.
LP (Vinyl)
Benis Cletin: Jungle Magic
€22.90
Benis Cletin : Jungle Magic
reissue of 1979 Nigerian psychedelic Disco/Boogie/Afrofunk album: Considered an acid boogie classic, Jungle Magic is a cosmic transmission from the early days of Nigerian disco. The bass lines are lethal. The synths are fat and squelchy. And the groove is non-stop and primal. Channeling the jungle gods of funk and introducing them to Donna Summers, the title track, ‘Jungle Magic’, takes you to a freaky place you didn’t know existed but never want to leave. ‘Love Forever’ brings a Calypso party vibe while ‘Fireman’ suggests Prince may have been listening to Benis when he wrote ‘Alphabet Street’. The album was composed and produced by Benis Cletin. He also played guitar and synthesizer and sang lead vocals. George Achini from the Mighty Flames stars on bass and Mambo Sticks, Nigeria’s leading disco drummer, lays down the rock solid grooves. Benis went on to release three more albums, which will be re-issued by PMG soon. Jungle Magic remains the album where he introduced his irresistible brand of psychedelic disco funk to world.
LP (Vinyl)
Berkley Jones: Nation Building
€22.90
Berkley Jones : Nation Building
reissue of 1979 AFrofunk album: Nation Building is a real forgotten gem from the late '70s and is among the very best Afro-Beat Disco Lps ever. Berkely Ike Jones is one of the icons of the Nigerian scene being the guitarist and founder of BLO (forthcoming on PMG). BLO were one of the very best progressive bands from Nigeria and managed to release several albums for EMI (Nigeria) and Afrodisia Records. BLO are definitely a ground-breaking band, that managed to further establish the entire Afro-Funk genre. At the time Ginger Baker of Cream went to travel to Nigeria and invited Berkely Ike Jones to be part of session-band Salt. They went back to UK and toured in Europe. Berkely Ike Jones played with many bands like with Ofege on their Try and Love album and he also appeared on many other great albums by artists like Steve Black, Lijadu Sisters, Tee Mac, Kris Okotie, Sonny Okosuns Ozziddi, 'Blackman' Akeeb Kareem, Mixed Grill, Don Bruce And The Angels and Felix Lebarty. Nation Building is his solo project recorded in the late 1970s on Skylark Records. The original LP is extremely rare and very expensive, so this is your chance to grab your copy and listen to some really great Afro-Beat music.
LP (Vinyl)
The Beta Yama Group: Free Love
€22.90
The Beta Yama Group : Free Love
reissue of 1980 Nigerian psychedelic/cosmic Afrofunk album: It’s hard to get a handle on Nigerian musicians Nash Dodoo, Charlie Cuul and Jonas Caulley. In 1980 they released an album of face-melting gospel boogie as the BML chapels. And in the same year, calling themselves the Beta Yama Group, they put out Free Love, a belated love letter to San Francisco’s Summer of Love and an album altogether focused on more worldly concerns. Free Love is a small slice of Haight-Ashbury transported to the Polygram Studios in Lagos. ‘Te Revoir’ is Mamas and Papas jamming with Sergeant Pepper’s Beatles. ‘Free Love’ offers a respectful nod towards Je T’aime-era Serge Gainsbourg. Sure, ‘Revolution’ gets hard and funky and ‘Rain’ flirts briefly with a calypso reggae sound, but the majority of the album is cheesecloth and flowers in your hair. Insanely rare – and worth buying for the freaky cover art alone – Free Love is a funky, reverb heavy call for love, peace and sweet, sweet loving. What more could you want from an album?
LP (Vinyl)
Daniel Grau: El Leon Bailarin
€22.90
Daniel Grau : El Leon Bailarin
reissue of 1980 Venezuelian Disco album: This 1980 album from Venezuela shows the typical trademarks of its creator Daniel Grau. Spaced-out disco grooves, this time even with some nifty female vocals aspirated gently upon the lightfooted waves of synthesizer melodies and pulsating rhythms. An exception is the second track „Con en cielo en tus ojos“ which is a lush and utterly relaxed floating Latin pop number with a repetitive vocal line breathing an atmosphere of peace. It is one of these positive tunes that make you feel at ease with everything in this world. There is definitely more color on this album than expected from listening to the „Disco fantasy“ record which in fact was a strong piece already. No wonder that this long out of print gem fetches prices up to 200 Euros among collectors. If you are a fan of what Donna Summer released during the same period of time and love this silky yet vivid feel of the steady pulse the rhythms offer, than you'll have to grab a copy of this beautiful reissue. This is one of these albums that should have been legendary among the dancing public in the clubs by the time of its release peppered with memorable tunes that even work well 36 years and a massive development in popular music later. Let's look behind the surface and dig out the real jewels of this genre!
LP (Vinyl)

May 2019