Various Ghana Soundz II

Yet another crucial comp from Miles Cleret’s Soundway records. This edition of the funkiest singles never to have made it out of Ghana may even be better than the first. There’s no drop in quality in the tracks from the original Ghana Soundz, only the superb sequencing may give this one an edge. Front loading some long-form groovers really captures the imagination of the listener right off the top. After the tasty appetizer "Oulufeme” by Oscar Sulley & the Uhuru Dance Band, the next three tracks all top six minutes, allowing some epic groove structures to develop. Capped by the Browner than James scorcher "Sakatumbe” by the renowned African Brothers, this opening 20-minute salvo is as intense an opening to a funk compilation as has ever been mustered. As with the first volume, these songs are experiments in true Afro-American fusion, although none of which captured the Ghanaian imagination the same way that Fela did. Nonetheless, all were representative of a fascinating period that combined traditional pop styles with new instrumental line-ups, fancy keyboard work (analog synth fetishists will find much to love here) and an openness to rhythms from across the ocean. The Soundway label is three for three so far with their fine reissues, and has ascended to the status of a label whose releases one can buy on faith alone. (Soundway)