Various Artists

    Nigeria 70:The Definitive Story of 1970s Funky Lagos


    This is the Rosetta Stone of African funk records. First released in 1991, this set mines the groovy and funky sounds of West Africa, a region that has since gotten a lot of love in many an anthology that in some ways rivals Nuggets for its exposure of great music that was unheard, at least outside of Africa. Other labels have taken over the mantle of digging for tracks, such as Analog Africa.


    is also one of the best comps in the genre: It offers two discs of artists ranging from a few who may be familiar to you, like Fela Kuti and King Sonny Ade, to others who you will wonder how you have lived without knowing them.

    Fairly funky tracks, like those by Bala Miller, Peter King and the sinful-that-he–is-not-a-legend in the west Sir Vitor Owaifo, dominate the first disc, keeping it all funky with blends of traditional rhythms, but it is side two that kicks it for me. Not so much because the famous names are saved for last, but because that is where the hardcore jams are. Sahara All Stars Band’s “Enjoy Yourself" and “Alo Mi Alo” by Orlando Julius & the Afro Sounders features steamy funk grooves. The best song of the set, “Allah Wakbarr: by Ofo the Black Company,” with its mix of psych-freakout guitar and farfiza, adds yet more proof to the theory that Africa was listening really hard to Western music in the early ’70s (but only for ways it could blend it into already hot local grooves).


    Of course, this holds up.

    Nigeria70: The Definitive Story of 1970s Funky Lagos

    set the standard not only for funk anthologies, but also for world-music comps as well. Putumayo, Sublime Frequencies, Analog Africa and others are impossible without this precendent.

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