June 15, 2011

K. Frimpong | Blue Album

ARTIST:  K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas
TITLE:  Blue Album
LABEL:  Continental / Secret Stash 
REVIEW:  Alhaji K. Frimpong was a Ghanaian singer and bandleader who released six or so albums in the 1970s and 80s.  His career bridged the time from when highlife was the dominant musical style in West Africa to when it was supplanted by afrobeat.  Frimpong’s sound is roughly a halfway point between the two, a mixture of languid melodies and urgent rhythmic drive.  He’s shown up on many of the most important West African compilations, and his original vinyl sells for premium prices.  Now the folks at Continental and Secret Stash have reissued his self-titled 1976 album, one of the most awesome tapes ever featured on the “Awesome Tapes From Africa” blog and pretty difficult to find otherwise.  Frimpong wasn’t the most popular artist in his own day, but his prominence has grown through time -- it’s safe to say that this is some of the best music of an era full of great recordings.  The band here (also known as Vis A Vis on their own sessions) is just superb; drummer Kung-Fu Kwaku is right up there with Tony Allen as a master of polyrhythms.  Don’t miss this one.
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