Accra-born pianist and front-man Rob released only a few albums in small quantities throughout the 70's, and they're among the most sought-after records out of Africa from that time period. This was the first. Rob (born Rob Roy Reindorf) was an admirer of Otis Reading, James Brown, Wilson Picket, and Ray Charles growing up, even imitating these giants on his father's piano during school holidays. After learning to play the piano at a music school in Cotonou, Benin, Rob went on to play gigs with groups in the Benin music scene, most notably Benin-heavyweights Black Santiago and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo. After some time in Benin learning the chops, he returned to Ghana to begin writing his own songs and find a backing band. At 28 (1977), Rob traveled to western Ghana and approached an army band named Mag-2, a band known for having a dedicated horn ensemble as well as some of the most sophisticated music equipment available in Ghana at the time. The band was enticed by Rob's innovate musical style - cosmic, afro-funk inspired progressive dancefloor rhythms sung in English - and backed the Ghanain sensation for his first and second albums, Funky Rob Way (also known as just Rob) and '78's Make it Fast, Make it Slow (one of the rarest of the genre).
The opening track sets the pace for the album's blistering 6 tracks. A super funky, percussive "Funky Rob Way" sounds like peak Fela crossed with peak JB's, full of wahwah guitar and organ jabs that spin you out before the horns spin you back. "Forgive Us All" is a wahwah blessed soul jam that sounds almost Jimi-esque, while "Boogie On" makes you want to do exactly that, boogie onto the dancefloor and shake it. That's just the A side, and the B side oh my! I could go into each track but this is one of those albums where every track tops the last, you have to listen to believe it. Don't take it from me, listen to the snippets and you'll be tapping your feet, bobbing your head, or you'll just hop out of your chair and start cutting the rug wherever you are. This re-release comes with the original artwork and is fully licensed to make sure that the fruit of Rob's musical labor reaches him, now living back in Accra running his restaurant "The Chicken Pepper". Rob himself says, “Funky music is in my blood. What you hear is the coming out of my mind.” No one sounds like Rob, because there is no one like Rob. Released by Mr. Bongo. Highest recommendation.
- replica original artwork
- music label: Mr Bongo 2019
reviewed by Roberto Pinstripe 3/2019