This beautiful record from Letta Mbulu is finally getting a reissue thanks to the tireless team behind Be With Records (Shout out for those Ned Doheny releases as well – I owe you guys some drinks). In an album that meshes a South African combination of disco, 80s soul and pop this track ‘Down By The River’ stands out. Its got a particular tropical flavour and has become quite the favourite of mine. One for a warm day and a nice alternative to the slightly harder edged funk of tracks like Nomalizo. The poor streaming version doesn’t do the track justice so make sure you pick up your own copy of the vinyl before its too late.
This was the tape that started it all and gave birth to the logically named label/blog Awesome Tapes From Africa.
The first listen for me was a unique but instantly engaging experience. Its just not the kind of music that I’d come across before. Stuttering drum machined beats, punchy synths and endless hypnotic looping serve as the basis for Ata Kak’s ridiculously dextrous lyrical twists and turns. As the track builds he is joined by female backing singers in a call and answer patter than reminds me of some of William Onyeabors stranger moments. Its a really fascinating listen and, although I don’t understand the lyrics, its bursting with energy and positivity.
Is it Afro-house? Hiplife? I don’t really know but I’m looking forward to digging deeper and learning more. You’ve got to admire the dedication and sleuthing that has given birth to this reissue. Its not just on tape anymore.
The challenge is to not get up and dance to this slice of guaranteed party starting disco funk from Bileo. Vocals that sit somewhere near ‘Move On Up’, lively horns and an unstoppable bass line. This is some killer deep disco straight from 1979. People go crazy for this on vinyl but now we can all enjoy it from the comfort of our own computer thanks to Athens Of The North. Magic.
Peoples Potential Unlimited have basically done a public service by reissuing 1984 Boogie gem from Lisa Warrington. ‘I Like The Way You Do It’ is quickly becoming one of my favourite tracks from the period and, judging by the price of an original vinyl, other people feel the same way. The Peoples Potential Unlimited reissue comes with a brilliant tweaked edit of the original by Tom Noble. That guitar riff is magic.
Have a listen below. Guaranteed groove.
And just for the sake of completeness here is the original cut. Compare and contrast. For fun.