This week on Sound Travels we'll continue our Best Of… tendencies for ending a year with another Best In Seven list; this week, it's the best re-issues of vintage and lost musics from around the world. Today we heard #5 and #4…
#5 – El Rego – El Rego – Daptone Records
I first heard El Rego on Analog Africa's 2008 compilation African Scream Contest and liked it lots, I got excited however when I found out Daptone Records was re-releasing his stuff. Why not? Benin's Theophile Do Rego looms large among the lost giants of West African funk. Formed in 1966, El Rego and his Commandos created the template others would exploit more successfully: a wildly inspired blend of tribal rhythms, wah-wah guitar, fatback bass lines, and the heated unnnhs and yeeowws that typify the James Brown styled funk in West Africa at the time. This material is crucial and highly recommended bit of funk, one that had it been released today, would likely have been on Daptone anyway–a nice fit for them and for this list at number five.
El Rego "Feeling You Got" El Rego
El Rego "Djobime" El Rego
El Rego "Kpon Fi La" El Rego
#4 – Mahmoud Ahmed – Ere Mela Mela
For me, a rainy day is perfect for a few things; a good book, strong coffee and ethio-jazz. Something about the vintage sounds of 60's and 70's Ethiopian groove puts me in the mood. For…? Nuanced introspection and sound wave meditation, this is the soundtrack to the cinema of my mind. Though I was lucky enough to score this on vynil some years back, I am happy that its recently become available again. Though I didn't write the book (or any book for that matter) on Ethio-beat, I can say that this is one of the best albums from one of the best Ethiopian groovers Mahmoud Ahmed.
A full-time singer since the mid-60's, Ahmed was a part of the period's most important acts. Bands like the The Ibex Band and The Walias Band employed the skills of this amazing-zoiced singer. He was even the lead singer in Emperor Haile Selassie's Imperial Bodyguard Band. Though much of the recent press on Ethiopian music is centered on another revered name, Mulatu Astatque, Mahmoud was a contemporary of his and definitely a musical equal. Making this re-release a must for African and Ethiopian music fans…
Mahmoud Ahmed "Ere Mela Mela" Ere Mela Mela
Mahmoud Ahmed "Bemin Sebeb Litlash" Ere Mela Mela