Various Club Africa

Following up Russ Dewbury’s Africafunk compilation from last year, London’s Strut label pulls off a second round of brilliant ’70s Afro-Funk, compiled and annotated by Dewbury. At a time when DJs and producers are once again exploring the inspiration of African sounds, Club Africa presents 14 astonishingly funk-tastic original underground tracks of hard African funk, Afro-jazz and Afro-beat. Although culled from all over the world, all of the bands are clearly inspired by the late great Fela Kuti (whose son is currently picking up where his father left off). The tracks are informed by Afro-American jazz and funk, but fired by monstrous African rhythms that build into high-energy trance. There are way too many highlights on this record to mention them all but some personal faves include the Latin-flavoured hard beats of Colombian Wganda Kenya, the Gaytones and their wicked jazz funk that fuses Maceo Parker and Fela Kuti and Ghana’s Buari with disco-infused grooves and chorusing vocals. The Daktaris bring the one track that doesn’t date from the ’70s, but even though it was recorded just last year its sound is raw, full of burning jazz with funk breaks and featuring members of Fela Kuti’s band. The best rock-powered track is from the American outfit Living Funk with a wailing fuzz guitar solo, ragged James Brown-styled belting vocals and killer Afro rhythms. (Strut)