It’s been virtually impossible keeping up with all the great reissues and lost treasure of the 60s, 70s and 80s that have been unearthed in the last few years. Every time I turn around something pretty phenomenal pops up.
I haven’t done much DJing lately, but during my last semi-active run there was one record that I never left home without, “Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times and Nigerian Boogie Badness 1979-1983”. This is seriously packed with some early 80s good vibe, all-out dance party jams. The majority of the compilation has a sound reminiscent of Atlantic Starr, Brass Construction, BT Express, and certain tracks from the Fatback Band (IE: “Midnight Freak”, “Keep Your Fingers Out The Jam”, “Take It Any Way You Want It”, & “Kool Whip”).
When I DJ I try to have some basic rules. They are in place to challenge myself and not allow me to be lazy. Plus they also help ensure I avoid having a cliché night. One of those rules is not relying heavily on one record or artist*. I found myself cheating a little bit with the Brand New Wayo. It seemed excusable, being it was a compilation filled with artists that nobody on the dance floor had probably even heard before.
Perhaps my favorite of those selections is “Excuse Me Baby” by Dizzy K Falola. He had a string of LPs, all on EMI Records, between the years of ’82-’88, of which I have heard a total amount of zero. The singing has that milky pleading tone a la Rose Royce and Earth Wind & Fire, while the beat relies on some clappy snares, keyboards that sound like an over-wound up rubberband tuned to perfection, and a guitar line that conjures an image of a guy playing it in a straw hat while laid back in a hammock. The lyrics are direct and to the point as he strives to get the attention of a young lady to alert her of the chain reactions set in motion from her beauty.
Murphy Williams “Get On Up” is a strict call to the dance floor and I can’t shake this notion that the vocalist has this Latin vibe to him. The instrumentation is a bit loose and experimental with the horn and keys allowed to get lost in their own playing, as if they were focusing just as much on dancing as they were playing. It gives the song a in the moment, spontaneous charm.
The Stormmers “Love Or Money” is the song that came on my IPOD about an hour ago that inspired me to write this, as I’ve been sitting on this record for about a year now. Somehow I kind of slept on this one previously. It’s certainly among the most lyrical inventive songs on the compilation. The general suggestion is that in life there is a only a “Either Or” option when it comes to money and love…you need to choose, “If you want money AND love, you can never make it!”
The Bayo Damazio contribution has a Fatback Band-ish intro, but settles nicely into its own style. The minimal lyrics focus heavily on the songs primary request of the listener, “Listen To The Music.” Perhaps they weren’t thinking of it in this sense, but I have adopted that to be an invitation for ears around the world to check out what is happening in the community of Nigerian Soul/Disco/Boogie.
There’s really not a whole lot more to say about this, except it is pretty awesome. This isn’t talking music. It is dancing music. I will say that the more I become aware of the music of this era from around the world, the more I find comfort and happiness that there was a sort of universal consciousness taking place based upon great music, good dancing, and some eccentric fashion. I’ve recently gotten educated about Funk, Psych-Rock, & Disco type-sounds from the likes of Turkey, Iran, Cambodia, West Indies, and more. Brand New Wayo sets the record straight for the Nigerian night scene and undoubtedly proves they knew how to get down with the get down…
*Sure there are some exceptions, but I even tried to limit them. Though in a dance night like I’m accustomed to DJing you will probably here a few different songs from James Brown, Parliament/Funakdelic, Michael Jackson/Jackson 5, and Prince. Those are generally the only artists I’m regularly playing multiple tracks from in one night and that’s generally in response to requests. Whatever…
-Other World Funk Discoveries:
Written By Kevin “International Dance Machine” Beacham