Easy Kabaka Brown - Opotopo (4 stars)

Vinyl re-issue offers unusual slice of Nigerian 70s high-life and Afro-funk

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Easy Kabaka Brown - Opotopo

(Soundway)

Originally released in 1976, Easy Kabaka Brown's debut is another gem from Philips / Phonogram's Nigerian vaults. Given a loving vinyl re-issue by the good folks at Soundway, Opotopo is an unusual slice of 70s high-life and Afro-funk, its golden grooves adorned with jazz trumpet, Latin American percussion and psychedelic organ.

Previously heard on the label's glorious Nigeria Special collection, 'Belema' is a magical high-life number, its space-echo guitar evoking sunlight glinting off water. A short vocal refrain gives way to extended instrumental sections, with a muted trumpet dancing over the nimble grooves in a gorgeous display of jazzy moves and delicate wah-wah flourishes.

Brown's almost conversational call-and-response vocal style rides the rolling funk of 'Agboho', all soft-toned guitar chords, cowbell and hand-percussion. Cuban salsa meets Nigerian high-life on 'Kele Chi Gi' and 'Onbumi' while 'Ibi Dyna' blasts cosmic organ over an easy lope. A wonderful record; with the urge to dance totally irresistible.

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