This download-only compilation from Mr Bongo records features ten tracks from their highly varied world catalogue. Happily there is strong representation here from the fine reggae producer Prince Fatty with his ‘Kung Fu Battle ina Brixton’ (featuring Horseman) and also from Fatty’s separate collaboration with Hollie Cook in the excellent dub of ‘Crying’, both of which have been reviewed more fully on these pages before (see reggaemusic.org.uk April, August and October 2012). More surprising are some diverse and intriguing contributions from around the globe. These include CK Mann and his Carousel 7 which, apart from being a marvellously named band, provide rhythmic roots from Ghana in the form of ‘Asafo Beesuon’, a lengthy extended pulsing track with CK’s distinctive guitar making itself very evident. Great, and unique, and sounding as though it embraces the influence of several continents all in one song. The venerable Ebo Taylor brings more West African rhythms in the shape of ‘Heaven’. It remains as difficult as it ever did to know what to make of the thrashing guitar and psychy-era phasing effects of the Incredible Bongo Band, except to note that ‘Last Bongo in Belgium’ is not the best song I’ve ever heard, but it does have a rather impressive title. Tom Ze’s ‘Sao Paulo’, the Salvador Trio’s ‘Tristeza’ and Joyce’s ‘Aldeia De Ogum’ all add a musical contribution, albeit of contrasting styles, from Brazil. There is a distinct vintage sound to some of the tracks, but Novalima’s ‘Machete’, from Peru, has a sharp contemporary feel. The collection closes with the late American Terry Callier’s live recording of ‘Lazarus Man’, a fine blues and jazz crossover. So as well as those who will know Mr Bongo Recordings for their recent and accomplished reggae output, there is plenty here from around the world for the musically curious to explore.
Mr Bongo Recordings sampler compilation; download release January 2013