Review: Admirable reissue imprint Comb & Razor Sound continues to unearth, license and re-print lesser-known gems from around the world. Their latest find is Fire Woman, the incredibly rare third album from little-known nine-piece Foundars 15. Interestingly, the album's tracks are not straight-up Afro-funk or Afro-beat workouts. Instead, they various take in Cymande style reggae/soul fusion, psychedelic '60s style pop, wild funk rock/Afrobeat fusion, Hammond-laden torch songs, and skewed Afro-jazz. It's a curious but hugely entertaining hotch-potch of styles that makes for hugely enjoyable listening from start to finish. Highlights include fuzzy, solo-laden closer "Ekele", the anthem-like "Simin Boogie" and Fela Kuti-ish "True Light".
Review: One of the many remarkable things about Rock Town Express's 1974 debut album - originally eponymously titled but now renamed after the album's most celebrated track - is that it was the work of just two musicians, who each manned multiple instruments during the recording process. Given that it sounds fiendishly loose and live, as if it was laid down in one take, that's seriously impressive. As an album, it offers a decidedly fuzzy fusion of early Afrobeat, Sly Stone style funk-rock and the mind of heady psychedelic rock that's more associated with bands from San Francisco. In other words, it's the kind of obscure but brilliant Afro-rock fusion that you need in your life.
Review: During military service with the Nigerian military in 1978, former Fela Kuti collaborators Ojo Okeji and Abayomi "Easy" Adio decided to form a new band. Featuring other musicians recruited from within the ranks of the 6th Infantry Brigade of the Nigerian Army, the Shango Dance Band recorded an eponymous debut album that was only ever available to other military personnel. Here, it gets a first worldwide reissue. Similar in ethos to the Afrobeat sound the duo had helped Fela develop - but with extra layers of guitar, percussion, and gravel-throated U.S soul style vocals - Shango Dance Band is as potent and funky as anything released in Nigeria during the period. Thanks to the excellent Comb & Razor Sound, it's no longer a hidden classic.