Mr Bongo interview: ‘Sound Of Burkina Faso’ and ‘Record Club Two’ compilation spotlight

World Treasures Music spoke to Graham Luckhurst and Gareth Stephens of Mr Bongo. It’s an encounter that WTM has been trying to arrange for months! Such is the workload of such esteemed and world renowned diggers, while also running a prolific label and expertly curated shop (based in Brighton, UK).

Graham and Gareth co-compiled the most recent Mr Bongo Record Club: Volume Two compilation. The label has lots of new stuff out right now and there’s always more in the pipeline with this legendary label. They’re a tight crew who have been in it from the beginning.
WTM – How have your nights/mix series been going? Anything coming up?

We’ve been spinning a LOT this year – all over Europe, which has been amazing. Just got back from an event at Rappcats in LA with Egon (Now Again) and a lot of the West Coast peeps, where we celebrated the India reissue and sold records for two days. We’re running co-promoted events with Jazz Cafe and Patterns in Brighton and intend to do a lot more of those next year. Our two-hour Solid Steel mix will drop very soon. The Mr Bongo Edits series is also nearing completion.


WTM – How does the Record Club compilation come about?

It came about from our radio show of the same name, where we play completely across the board – music we love from our own collections. We’ve had guests including Nick The Record, Leon Vynehall, DJ Okapi, Jameszoo and Django Django, among others.

‘Mr Bongo Record Club: Volume Two’ features music on heavy rotation at Mr Bongo HQ.

WTM – What have been the major finds of recent months?

The private press album by Arthur called Joy  – a find by Mark GV Taylor – has been causing a bit of a stir. The track So Close To You is incredible. Also, J. B. De Carvalho ‎E Seu Terriero has been getting spun a lot since Dave picked it up in Brazil.

WTM – What next for the label?

We have a Solid Steel mix dropping very soon which should turn some heads… Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Three of course! A new Ebo Taylor record in March next year. Burner & Cartier reissue, Ebo Taylor & The Pelikans reissue and Luis Perez mystical 80’s electronic psyche LP from Mexico. More 45’s.WTM – Who have been your artists of the year?

‘The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso’ is a double vinyl compilation and is out now.

Vels Trio, Gaby Hernandez, Maria Rita, Candeias, Tenderlonious/Ruby Ruston and the whole UK jazz scene has been on fire. Also Brighton band Squid are one to watch for sure. Dave was very inspired by the work in compiling The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso and The Original Sound Of Mali compilations, where he discovered tons of new music.

WTM – How is your time managed between the shop, label and discovering?

Ha! There are a few of us here and we make it work nicely. David, Gary and Gareth do the bulk of the digging and travelling and the rest of the dudes run things from Brighton HQ.

A Mr Bongo promo leaflet for the shop from 1990.

WTM – Which LPs have you been proudest about reissuing?

Arthur Verocai, Pedro Santos’ Krishnanda and Gal Costa’s India were very special.


Listen to Mr Bongo Record Club mixes and more at Mr Bongo’s Mixcloud stream.

 

Latest World Treasures Music show on KMAH Radio

Francois K – FK On The Beach

Batido De Corpo – Goleiro

Kingsley Bucknor – You Gotta Keep On Luvin’ Me (Hot Extended Remix Version)

WITCH – Erotic Delight

Kingsley Bucknor – Just U And Me

Nana Love – When The Heart Decides

Kingsley Bucknor – Don’t Give Up Ya Luv (Instrumental Hot Remix)

Rupa Biswas – Aaj Shanibar (World Treasures Music Edit)

Nova – I Feel Like Getting Down

Saitana – 1, 2, 3

King Jammy – Hog Inna Minty

Sister Nancy – Transport Connection

Culture – Mind Who You Beg For Help (2000 Digital Remaster)

Michel Legris – Elida

Orlando Julius – Omo Oba Blues

Lobi Traore Group – Jugu

Kamasi Washington – The Rhythm Changes

Radio Niger interludes (Sahel Drum-Machine Gun)

Harmonious Thelonious – Third Movement

Sokoko, Nigeria – Radio 1

Black Merlin – Spirit House

Piero Umiliani – Savana

Krikor Kouchian – Zulette

Lemuria – Get That Happy feeling

Oli Ahvenlahti – Grandma’s Rocking Chair

Musi-O-Tunya – The Wings Of Africa

The Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Matsuli announce reissue LP for 2018 – ‘Genes and Spirits’ by Moses Taiwa Molelekwa

Matsuli Music continue their relentless mission of bringing South African jazz to the light and will be issuing Genes and Spirits by Moses Taiwa Molelekwa. His seminal album was originally on Melt2000 and licensed via Robert Trunz, who was the executive producer on the original sessions. It is expected early in 2018 for the first time on vinyl and is supported by the Molelekwa family. This double LP will feature an additional track composed and recorded for the original release, but withdrawn at the last moment by the artist.

The album contains multiple influences of Latin music, with nods to Cuba (with celebrated Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes) and Brazil (Flora Purim’s vocals), as well as Cameroon (with Brice Wassey’s drums).

The latest Matsuli reissue is a masterpiece from the South African jazz diaspora – the 1976 Istanbul session featuring Johnny Dyani and Okay Temiz.

Remastered by Frank Merrit at the Carvery, Witchdoctor’s Son is presented as a deluxe gatefold sleeve including new liner notes by Francis Gooding. Also included are previously unpublished photographs by Hank O’Neal.

Available for the first time since Yonca Records originally released only 1,000 copies in Turkey, this album has remained an elusive and sought after record.

Side one features material arranged by Temiz, and the second has material arranged and composed by Dyani – including a wonderful arrangement of Don Cherry’s Elhamdulilhah Marimba, with Dyani on piano and vocal duties.

Weirdo world music of the highest order – Toresch’s Untitled EP on Offen Music

Toresch are back following their 2016 debut album Essen Fur Alle with this supreme EP of coldwave for Offen Music. Detlef Weinrich (Tolouse Low Trax) provides the industrial grooves and vision, with Viktoria Wehrmeister penning the lyrics and adding half-spoken, half-sung Spanish vocals.

For more industrial, avant-garde, experimental and synthwave music go to the Offen Music shop.

New material and reissues from Japan display musical diversity of nation

One of the recent highlights has been the super-funky, super flaky LP by Shintaro Sakamoto. The former Yura Yura Teikoko guitarist smashes it with his Hawaiian lap steel guitar on this, the fourth solo album by this pioneer. When Sakamoto duets with robot voices (Purging the Demons) we are hearing something unique. Love Is Possible is reggae, roots, Balearic, funk, pop and rock all at once in a heady brew that is both fresh and timeless – as you can hear from the title track.

Yura Yura Teikoku recorded a dozen studio albums between 1992 and 2007, but  played to large audiences in Japan, only touring outside the country in the United States in 2005. Sakamoto will be earning himself new listeners with this release, as well as revisits to the psychedelic rock sound of his former three piece.

There are timely reissues of the Japanese ambient variety also.  One of the most essential pieces from this country and in this genre is Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi LP. This has been one of the most sought after OG vinyls from the country for many years. The 1982 first release is highly coveted and the 2016 reissue  was a welcome one, though still soaring in value since last year. Heads up on another reissue circulating soon, though not on the Better Days label.

Finally, another supreme collection of Japanese music has been released by the awesome label Light In The Attic. Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 is the first installment in what promises to be an essential ‘Japan archival’ mini-series. The twists, turns, emotion, soul, selection, package, artwork and price make this one of the must-have compilations of 2017. Music lovers can expect big things from now on with the themed mini-series.

Other artists include Haruomi Hosono, Yasuaki Shimizu, Kenji Endo, Kazuhiko Yamahira & The Sherman, Sachiko Kanenobu, Kazuhiko Kato, Takashi Nishioka and Hachimitsu Pie.

To see a collection of the stunning cover art associated with this release, click here to visit the WTM Japan page.

Paul Major: Feel the Music Vol. 1 reveals treasures from a true selectors’ vault

This compilation Paul Major: Feel the Music Vol 1 features ‘folk’, garage and psyche from private presses and ludicrously rare and expensive albums. It dropped just days ago. A fair few of the albums containing some of these mind bending tracks have had reissues, but this compilation brings the best of the best to one vinyl.

This platform given by Anthology Recordings has been expertly utilised. Paul Major was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1954. He played in bands in St. Louis and Los Angeles, before moving to New York in 1978, where he became embroiled in the punk scene and most notably as part of proto-speed metal band The Sorcerers. His life has been dedicated to cultivating an extensive knowledge of rare, ousider LPs of the highest depth and quality.

Major began a mail-order LP business and his catalogs have always shown his crate-digging knowledge and collection of unique psychedelic grails. He is also a vocalist and guitarist in rock band Endless Boogie – alongside Jesper Eklow (guitar), Marc Razo (bass) and Harry Druzd (drums).

Africa Seven latest releases: ‘Africa Airways Disco Touchdown’ and Jo Tongo collection

The Africa Seven label launched more than three years ago and they continue to be one of the best reissue labels. Their first release back then (Airways One)  has been repressed four times so far and after 40 or so releases later the fourth installment of rare and essential tracks has dropped.

Highlights on the compilation include Tala AM and the band Eko, both from Cameroon. Also fellow country woman Uta Bella, who began singing in the 60’s and by the time disco hit in the 70’s she was already an established singer in her native land, here the locked groove of Nassa Nassa is a perfect slice of the African disco times.

Charly Kingson (cousin of Manu Dibango) also features with his Nimele Bolo – recorded in Germany with the cream of Munich’s session musicians. Dibango’s 1978 disco, jazz funk classic Sun Explosion maintains the welcome theme of disco cuts from the East African country (gorgeous Nigerian and Ghanaian disco having proliferated the compilation market recently).

Side two opens with Elvis Kemayo and his piano and guitar funk bomb Biram. Momo Joseph gives us Africain – best known in France as an actor and this disco funk groover was released on his self pressed LP War For Ground in 1983. Nigerian, ex Funkees member Jake Sollo is next with Tinni Yanana – recorded in the UK in 1983. The quality control is as high as usual.

Also out recently was the next installment in the African Funk Experimentals series and is also an essential collection of the work of Jo Tongo. This is superfly and funky.

The latest WTM radio show opens with a selection of tracks from both releases: