Lagos Disco Inferno Volume 2
Voodoo Funk's presents a second volume of blistering Nigerian disco and Afro-funk. Tony Grey's two inclusions, from the early '80s with the Ozimba Messengers, were originally released on different LPs: irresistible Afro-disco, layered with delirious syn-drums and sick keys, and featuring a horn-line bumptiously whipped from Louis "Thunder Thumbs" Johnson's bass-playing on Michael Jackson's "Workin' Day and Night." Originally from Warri where he stayed throughout most of his career, Tony's first band was the Famous Latin And His Dominant Seven. He gigged for a while as a James Brown imitator with The Great Peters, before his breakthrough fronting the Magnificent Zeinians, with some amazing 45s on EMI's HMV imprint -- best of all, the psych-rock-funk monster "Ije Udo." At the close of the 1970s, just a couple of years after the classic psych-funk of "Float" by Tirogo, Wilf Ekanem and crew trained their frazzled peepers on disco. The ensuing Aiye People LP is a stunner and a collector's legend -- Afro-fried Kool And The Gang on a mission to "blow your soul on fire," featuring space-jazzbo Fred Fisher on trombone and the E Gang sisters on sassy backing vocals, with "Disco Manic" and "We Like to Party" as two standouts. Eno Louis gained a solid background in traditional Edo music as a student in Benin City, southeast Nigeria. He lived at Fela's Kalakuta Republic till the army raid in 1978, when he moved to the U.S. for a couple of years. On his return, he recorded with Edo funk powerhouse The Talents Of Benin, and quickly became a mainstay of the flourishing disco and boogie scene, in demand as guitarist and drummer. The two tracks here are from Louis' debut LP, Living in the USA. Bayo Damazio's couple of contributions are classy, spaced funk, originally issued in 1981 by Phonodisk, the most ambitious Nigerian label at that time. Recruiting a crack team of predominantly Cameroonian musicians, with the Nigerian dancefloor on tenterhooks, producer Tony Essien was on the lookout for a successor to singer Kris Okotie, who had abruptly defected to EMI. Rising to the challenge, BD enthusiastically fronts two sides of brilliant, devil-may-care disco. An unsung pioneer, Mona Finnih was Nigeria's first female pop bandleader. Breaking through with The Sunflowers in Nigeria's late-'60s soul explosion, Mona moved to the U.S. after the group's equipment was destroyed in a car accident. There she was active in the new jazz scene, before returning home towards the end of the '70s. These two cuts are late-'70s boogie-down cosmic funk, like full-throttle Roy Ayers, at his most brilliant. Finally to the Afro-space-disco contagion of First Planet -- shuffling and wiggling, synthy and bubbling -- from this re-incarnation of Willy Nfor's Mighty Flames, recruited mostly from the wave of Cameroonian musicians drawn to Nigeria in the late 1970s by its heavy new funk sound. After a stint at the Right Time studio in Onitsha, the FP cadets ended up at Phonodisk in Lagos, quickly in high demand as session-players, running First Planet on the side with other Nigerian session players from the Onitsha/Awka axis. Its name was intended to evoke the cool obliqueness of U.S. handles like Brass Construction and Lakeside, and the mothership connection of chocolate-city P-Funk.