What You Want To Be? (O Que Voce Que Apostar?) (2:09)
These Are The Songs (Esta E A Cancao) (2:59)
Review: Tim Maia's 1968 debut single, "What You Want To Be", has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered Latin music enthusiasts. Original copies, though, have long been out of the price range of most DJs and collectors. Happily, Mr Bongo has struck a deal to reissue it. The title track is something of a scorching dancefloor-treat - a boogaloo-era slab of Latin funk in which Maia and chums sing in English atop a bustling rhythm track and some seriously heavy horns. B-side "These Are The Songs" is a much more relaxed and laidback, samba-soaked affair, closer in tone to early 1960s U.S soul songs of the sort regularly covered by the Beatles early in the career.
Review: When a 12" turns up with a Ron Trent rework on the A-side, we tend to take notice. In this instance, we were particularly curious to hear what the deep house legend had done to "Krumandey", one of the standout cuts from Highlife legend Ebo Taylor's recent album, Yen Ara. Predictably, his version is superb, brilliantly joining the dots between Taylor's soaring Afro-beat, rolling Afro-house and Trent's own sumptuous deep house electronics. Turn to the flipside for two fresh revisions of "Mumduey Mumduey": a jaunty, sunshine-friendly tweak by Japanese producer Natureboy Flako and a heavy Afro-disco version by Nick The Record rich in bowel-bothering sub-bass and spacey deep house chords.
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
Review: For their latest deep dive into forgotten and sought-after African music, Mr Bongo has secured the rights to reissue Togolese singer Akofa Akoussah's eponymous 1976 debut album. Akoussah was already something of a scene veteran when she recorded the set for Paris-based Sonafric, having made her vinyl debut in Togo 11 years earlier. The set remains something of a classic, with Akoussah variously delivering sweet vocals over local rhythms and guitars, bass, horns and Moog synth parts that showcase her Western funk and soul influences. There are some suitably heavy dancefloor workouts throughout (not least superb opener "Tango") as well as more laidback and stripped-back cuts. Curiously, the echo-laden production makes it sound like it was recorded in the mid '60s rather than the 1970s, but that's no criticism; it just adds an extra edge of intoxicating fuzziness.
Review: 1975's "Simigwa" album not only launched the career of Afro-funk fusionist and eventual Highlife great Gyedu Blay Ambolley, but also inspired a Ghanaian dance craze. The album was co-produced by another Highlife great, Ebo Taylor, and has long been exceptionally hard to find on vinyl. For this official vinyl reissue on Mr Bongo, Ambolley's landmark set has been fully re-mastered for the very first time. It sounds spectacular, with great clarity on the ear-catching brass solos, serious weight to the bass and superb stereo separation. Highlights include - but certainly aren't limited to - the Afro-blues brilliance of "Toffie", the jaunty dancefloor fuzziness of "This Hustling World" and the heavyweight swing of ear-catching opener "Kwaakwaa".
Review: Initially released in South Africa in 1982, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley's sophomore set is now regarded as a boogie-era Highlife classic. Here issued on CD for the very first time via Mr Bongo, the album features the Ghanaian star brilliantly joining the dots between driving disco-funk, jazz-funk, intoxicating slow jams, calypso, dub reggae and his beloved highlife. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, with standouts including heavy percussion jam "Simigwa", the boogie-dub skank of "Adwoa", the down-low grooves of "Walking Down The Street" and the killer disco highlife anthem "It's High Life". Simply essential.
Review: In 1970, 23 year-old Brazilian vocalist Celia Cruz headed into the studio with legendary producer and arranger Arthur Verocai to record the first of four eponymous albums that would go on to become "MPB" classics. Here, Mr Bongo offers up a timely reissue of that highly regarded debut, a set that giddily flits between soaring, orchestrated samba-pop ("Cheia Durango Kid", "David"), sun-kissed ballads ("To Be"), tributes to the songwriting prowess of the Beatles (see "Abrace Paul McCartney", whose strings tip a wink to "Eleanor Rigby", and the brassy, up-tempo beat pop of "Lennon - McCartney") and carnival-ready workouts ("Fotograma").
Review: Originally released in 1975, "Back To Rhythm" is one of the crowning glories of Akira Ishikawa's glittering career. The Japanese drummer turned his hand to countless wonderful records over his career, but this one was surely one of the best. Mr Bongo seem to think so, and they're giving it a proper reissue treatment. There are funk breaks galore embedded in this joyously upbeat, irresistibly groovy sound, where the horns parp with clarity and the guitar licks cartwheel through airy mixes. Managing to be both fulsome and loud without coming over too heavy, Ishikawa's sprightly take on instrumental funk has never sounded better than on this release.
Review: Insane boogie fire from Rio circa 82; both Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti were already decorated before they joined forces, but this one took both of their reputations and amplified them beyond expectation. Their one and only album, it's loaded with soul and funk from every corner of Brazil's sexy city and brought together with beautiful attention to detail; the gradual vocal breakdowns, rude synths and lavish instrumental sections, key cuts such as the Wonder-level "Aleluia", the jazz slides and glides of "Pret-A-Porter" and the sexy 80s electro boogie "Squash" will still completely flip any party 35 years later. Stunning.
Review: Over the years, Cesar Mariano and Cia's 1977 set "Sao Paolo Brasil" has achieved cult status, with dusty-fingered diggers regularly proclaiming it one of the finest jazz-funk/fusion albums of the period (a fact confirmed by the high prices that original vinyl copies often change hands for online). Remarkably, this timely Mr Bongo reissue marks the first time the set has been released outside of its native South America. Rich in glistening jazz guitars, fizzing, Azymuth-style organ riffs, spacey synths, warm bass and skittish drums, the album's eight tracks bristle with breeziness, subtle samba motifs, sumptuous dancefloor grooves, sunny downtempo workouts and effervescent arrangements. In a word: essential.
Review: Back in 1976, legendary highlife artist Pat Thomas decided to throw his weight behind Ghanian three-piece Marjarita. Thanks to his patronage, they made quite an impact with their debut album (Pat Thomas Introduces Marjita), before striking gold with their killer follow-up, This is Marjita. Since then, the album has become something of a "holy grail" for Afro-funk collectors, with copies changing hands for astonishing sums of money. Happily, Mr Bongo has decided to license and reissue it. The album contains four superb workouts: the hard funk brilliance of "Break Through", the organ-heavy Afrobeat fuzziness of "No Condition is Permanent", the reggae-influenced wonder of "I Walk Alone" and the superior highlife of "We Live in Peace".
Review: Eight years on from its previous reissue (that time courtesy of Analog Africa's "Limited Dance Edition" series), Mr Bongo is offering up a fresh, licensed re-press of Rob's eponymous 1977 Afro-funk masterpiece. If you missed out in 2011, the set is definitely worth picking up because it's rock solid heat from start to finish. Check, for example, the heavily percussive Afro-beat/Afro-funk fusion of "Funky Rob Way", the flanged funk guitars and heavy brass action of "Boogie On", the jazz guitars and loved-up vocals of "Your Kiss Stole Me Away" and the William Onyeabor-does-James-Brown heaviness of closing cut "More".
Review: Brighton based record label, publishers, cinematographers and legendary former London record store Mr Bongo reissue the legendary 1968 album by Pedro dos Santos, entitled Krishnada. Born in Rio de Janiero in 1919, Santos was (according to the label) "a percussionist virtuoso, composer and inventor of instruments.. such as the 'Tamba' (electrified bamboo drum) and the mouth berimbau whistle." He was a very spiritual person apparently and regarded by some as a philosopher of sorts. The album was produced by himself at CBS studios with arrangements by Joppa Lins. It features poetic lyrics in a unique linguistic structure, as well as various percussive instruments and horn arrangements with samba rhythms from Latin styles. Despite the originality of his percussive sound and the influence it has had on musicians, it had little impact at the time. The album had a cult revival in the noughties and began circulating the internet in MP3 format, finally giving recognition to this unusual spiritual Bossanova masterpiece.
Review: A true Ghanaian legend, Taylor's fusions of traditional Ghanaian music with jazz, funk, reggae and soul helped set the blueprint in the early 70s and here's where it all began: 1975, a highly limited debut on Gapophone Records. Reportedly pressed only 500 times due to the country's dictatorship, it's a beautiful introduction. Sweet-tasting highlight with strong reggae references throughout, highlights include the epic 13 minute jam "Maye Omama" and the ebbing, flowing rocksteady soul of "Will You Promise". Still active, teaching and playing at the age of 80, Taylor's music has matured just as well as he has.
Review: The name Francisco Tenorio Cerqueira Junior, or simply Tenorio Jr, has always been clouded in mystery. Not only did the renowned Brazilian pianist pass away under dubious circumstances in Argentina back in 1976, but he also put out a surprisingly limited number of albums throughout his short-lived career. Having said that, these are all very valid reasons for why his music remains among the most coveted of items in the jazz scene. Embalo is his only album under the Tenorio Jr name, but its 1964 release is still as fresh today as it was back in a cloud of psych-driven hedonism that permeated all arts scenes back then. Fun and uplifting throughout, the album will satisfy both the jazz traditionalists and those with a slightly more left field taste. The percussion driving the arrangements isn't exactly something to ignore either, with its typical South American flair infusing sublimely into Tenorio's own excellence behind the keyboard. This is an important album which has helped to define a whole generation of later Brazilian musicians, and we recommend you to make it part of your life. It's an essential piece of history.
Review: We love RSD only for one thing, and that's providing us with inaccessible records that have been snapped-up by Discogs sharks over the years. This timely reissue of Pat Thomas second LP from 1976, the wonderful Marijata, is one such record that has become impossible to find in its original format, and one which allows us to have some access to the highlife beat, one of our biggest loves. While much of this album rests in classic soul and funk, Pat Thomas' Ghanaian influences are loud and present, whether through the guitars, the aesthetics of each instrumental and, of course, the quality of the recording itself. Funk out to some ORIGINAL STYLE. Cop it quick!
Review: By the time he released the career-defining "Toquinho" in 1970, guitarist Antonio Pecci Filho was already a rising star in his native Brazil. Propelled forwards by cheery hit single "Que Maravilha" - a samba-soaked collaboration with fellow South American star Jorge Ben - the eponymous LP made "Toquinho" a massive star in his home country. As this reissue proves, the album has aged brilliantly. It features a fine mix of laidback instrumentals, shuffling samba songs (see the ace "Zana"), folksy excursions and cuts that later provided samples for some of dance music's best-loved tracks (most notably "Carolina Carol Bela", which was sampled by DJ Marky on his breakthrough hit "LK"). The kind of album that everyone should have in their record collection.
Review: First released back in 1977, Trio Mocoto's second eponymous album has long been a favorite with collectors of "MPB" - the most Brazilian of popular music styles. Thanks to the dusty-fingered diggers at Mr Bongo, the album is now available again on wax for the first time since 1980 (and, of course, for a fraction of the cost of an original copy). Like many of the greatest MPB albums of the period, the album's ten tracks brilliantly blend elements of samba, string-laden easy listening, soul, jazz-funk and fusion, with the band's strong group vocals and luscious instrumentation guaranteeing a warm, sun-kissed vibe throughout.
Elias Rahbani & His Orchestra - "Liza... Liza" (5:23)
The Beaters - "Harari" (8:28)
Review: Mr Bongo's crate-digging compilation series - described by the imprint as a "chance to champion tracks we've been playing in our sets" - returns and, predictably, this second volume is every bit as good as its predecessor. Naturally, there's a fair amount of Brazilian and African gems present, as well as a wealth of little-known disco, soul and funk cuts that will have DJs scrambling to find copies of the original 12" or 7" singles. Highlights are plentiful and include - but are not limited to - the punchy disco-funk of Dee Edwards' "Put Your Funk on the Line", the South African bubblegum brilliance of Kiru Stars, the sun-soaked peak-time samba of Tomu Dito and the Meters-go-to-Nigeria vibes of "Harari" by the Beaters. And that's just for starters.
JB De Carvalho E Seu Terreiro - "Fui A Umbanda" (2:33)
Trio Ternura - "A Gira" (3:04)
Alcione - "Figa De Guine" (2:19)
Impacto 5 - "Longe Daqui Aqui Mesmo" (3:23)
Abaete - "Pisa No Taboado" (2:34)
Tobias - "Coisa Sentimental" (4:00)
Os Flippers - "Estrelar" (2:02)
SpaceArk - "Don't Stop" (unreleased long version) (4:09)
Pure Release - "I'll Know It's Love For Sure" (3:37)
Luther Davis Group - "You Can Be A Star" (4:39)
Kaleidoscope - "Let Me Try" (3:26)
Marumo - "Khomo Tsaka Deile Kae?" (3:43)
Splash - "Peacock" (4:51)
Gyedu Blay Ambolley - "Highlife" (5:00)
Harari - "Senyamo" (4:44)
Tokyo Academy Philharmonic Chorus Group - "Taharazaka" (2:57)
Cesar Roldão Vieira - "Ze Do Trem" (2:14)
Elias Rahbani - "I Want To Be" (3:21)
Elias Rahbani - "Dance Of Maria" (2:45)
Galt MacDermot - "Coffee Cold" (3:22)
Review: The crate-diggers behind the Mr Bongo label can usually be relied upon to showcase some seriously good tunes old and new. That's certainly the case on this third volume in their occasional "Record Club" series of compilations. Spanning sunshine soul, obscure samba, spacey jazz-funk experimentation, wide-eyed underground disco, fiery funk, weirdo rock, cheery South African bubblegum, synth-laden early '80s highlife, Ramsay Lewis style workouts and the psychedelic Middle Eastern disco-funk of Elias Rahbani, the compilation's 20 tracks are not only near faultless, but genuinely surprising and eye-opening. To quote a cliche, this collection genuinely is all killer and no filler.
Review: Shina Williams' first album from 1979, African Dances, marked the moment where the Nigerian afrobeat artist would team up with 'His African Percussionists', to form one of the most sought-after sounds of the next decade. Taking inspiration from the Master Of Ceremonies, Fela Kuti, this album is just as loose and evocative as the legend's, and perhaps even a little more oriented towards the disco end of the spectrum. "Cunny Jam Wayo" is a classic afrobeat march, with its rolling drums popping off left, right and centre, while "Agboju Logun" offers a softer funk ride, and "Gboro Mi Ro" lifts the soul at the final moments with a truly memorable string of brass instruments and vocals. Cop this, not the L300+ original..!