London reissue saviors Mr Bongo follow up their spectacular Original Sound Of Mali collection with a handpicked selection of the finest tracks from “a truly golden age of music” in Burkina Faso, the landlocked West African republic formerly known as Upper Volta. Connoisseurs of rare African grooves will no doubt already be familiar with Numero Group’s excellent Bobo Yeye - Belle Epoque In Upper Volta boxset from a few years back, and though it was fairly exhaustive, Mr Bongo make it abundantly clear that this rich musical treasure trove is far from tapped. Made up of more than 50 distinct ethnic groups and as many spoken languages with an equally diverse set of influences, the music represented here is a high-grade stew of funk, psyche, blues, highlife, afrobeat, disco, rock & roll and latin filtered through that distinct but playful West African musical pedigree that we just can’t get enough of. Stacked with tracks by some of Burkina Faso’s best-known artists (Amadou Balaké, Cissé Abdoulaye) alongside serious rarities - consider Nabolle John Oumar’s life-affirming afro disco scorcher “M’ba Lale” (only 1 copy currently on Discogs for $450) or Youssouf Diarra’s “Djanfa Magni” ($472). Also don’t miss Sandwidi Pierre yearning for the beach on “Boy Cuisinier” (jocking this for my next Lab review alias), or Amadou Balaké’s salsa deadringer “Whiskey Y Coca Cola.” Though these songs were recorded in Upper Volta, Mr Bongo have named this outstanding collection appropriately - this is the soundtrack of the cultural revolution that resulted in the country’s name change. 13 tracks on black double vinyl, housed in deluxe gatefold sleeve with booklet containing extensive liner notes and photos. Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- deluxe gatefold sleeve
- booklet contains extensive liner notes and photos
- music label: Mr Bongo 2018
reviewed by hannibal chew 01/2018