October 13, 2011

El Rego | El Rego

ARTIST:  El Rego 
TITLE:  El Rego 
LABEL:  Daptone 
REVIEW:  Theophile Do Rego, better known as El Rego, was introduced to first-world audiences in Analog Africa’s African Scream Contest and Legends Of Benin compilations. Now Frank Gossner (voodoofunk.com, Lagos Disco Inferno) has compiled the best of El Rego’s 45s from the late 60s and early 70s, demonstrating that El Rego is one of the key artists in the development of the classic West African afrofunk sound.  El Rego got started way back in the 50s, joined Gnonnas Pedro’s band (the top band in Benin) in the early 60s, and started his own Los Commandos unit in 1965.  Their music touches on most of the key influences -- track 4 is pretty much straight-ahead James Brown funk, 5 features both funk and psychedelic elements, 6 is a Beninoise riff on “Tighten Up,” and 7 captures the midtempo Cuban-influenced sound exemplified by Gnonnas Pedro in Benin and dominant across much of Africa before the ascendance of funk.  Best of all, perhaps, is track 2, an early version of the sound perfected by Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou merging local vodoun rhythms with funk.  This is a great addition to the expanding African golden-era catalog, crate-digging at its finest.
TOP TRACKS:    2    4    5    6    7 
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    1    3    8    9    10    11    12

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