Listening Booth: A series.
I spent months looking for this. I called the record store that put it out. I called them more than once. At the time, it was a) out-of-print and b) the store employees said they don’t do mailorder nor take credit cards. I still nagged and needled the unlucky clerk into making some kind of arrangement via gmail and a personal check. These arrangements failed when the employee never followed up. This didn’t stop me from wearing out the refresh function on my gmail.
I became obsessed with owning this record. You know how you can zero in on an album like your entire being has to have it? Well, I had that kind of lust for this one.
I interviewed a guy who claimed he had a copy of the record. I never saw it in his stacks. And he never got around to sharing it.
I spent a day bidding on it on eBay. I lost out to some jackass who was willing to spend a solid $70 on it….And then finally, the record got reissued. So screw you, collector scum!
I have all the Nigeria Specials, the Fela twofers, and worn out the grooves on my Strut, Soundway, and Honest Jon’s releases. But this compilation is different. It neither dwells on the funk, the nightclub, or swings towards high life. It may be a bootleg of another African comp.
The record is simply one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever heard—eerie faded copy of a copy of early rock and roll, lonely folk picking, and inventive dance steps. Listen for yourself here and here and here.
And then head to Baltimore’s True Vine.