Classic African vinyl digs

Dec 06, 2012
C.K. Mann’s ‘Funky Highlife’ saw the launch of our classic African Recordings series. This series will also include two Ebo Taylor albums and more artists to be confirmed.  We asked Brighton vinyl fiend and Jazz Rooms resident Gareth Stephens to select some classic African Recordings that you should hunt down. Some are rare, some not so rare, but all have that ‘thing’ that get Gareth vibesing. Here are his picks, and a little bit about why he choose that particular record:

Sahara All Stars of Jos LP

A super rare LP. A Holy Grail, I have never seen a copy. 

Various - Ethiopian Modern Instrumentals Hits LP 


Features the most famous Mulatu Astake song Yègellé Tezeta, which was featured in Bill Murray’s Broken Flowers film and sampled by Nas and Damian Marley. I’d love the original Ethiopian pressing but again it’s rare rare rare!


Rob - Funky Rob Way and Make It Fast, Make It Slow

Rob Reindorf put out a couple of killer albums on the Ghanian Essiebon record label.  The late great J-Dilla sample the track Make It Fast Make It Slow too, taking Rob’s sound to a new audience.  Thankfully Soundway and Analog Africa have made these great records available again.


Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats – Lets Have A Party LP

Legendary lp by the Sierra Leone singer guitarist who is it said influenced Fela Kuti to incorporate funky elements into his style, hence creating Afro Beat.


Oby Onyioha – I Want To Feel Your Love LP 

Enjoy Your Life is one of the finest Afro-Disco records ever made. Love it.


Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 – Confusion LP 

I lesser known Fela Kuti record, but one of his finest. The trippy intro made it a favourite at David Mancuso’s Loft.  Just been reissued for the first time in years too. 


Funkees – Point Of No Return LP 


Harry Mosco’s The Funkees put out a couple of great lp’s and some singles in the 70’s. Soundway record put out a great collection earlier this year.


Ebo Taylor & Uhuru Yenzu ‎– Conflict 


Another classic album on Dick Essifie Bondzie Essiebon's label and for me one of the greatest African LP‘s I’ve heard. Most known / sort after for the track Life and Death, however the whole LP is fantastic. Sadly in it’s original form it’s an extreme rare record, but luckily Mr Bongo will be reissuing it in 2013. Ebo Taylor is still making music, with two fantastic albums on Strut Records


Gyedu-Blay Ambolley ‎- Simigwa

Amazing afro funk from 1975 again on Essiebons


Miriam Makeba – A Promise LP (RCA) 

This LP is not rare at all but is my favourite of the great Miriam Makeba. Features the amazing track Quit It (written by Miriam’s daughter) and produced by the legendary David Axelrod. 

Letta Mbulu – What Is Wrong With Groovin (Random) 7”

This is still to be one of my must wanted records, I fact I have never seen an original copy. Thankfully JazzMan Gerald reissued it. An amazing record by the South African songstress, who also worked with David Axelrod.

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