February 19, 2012

The Rough Guide To Psychedelic Africa

ARTIST:  various artists 
TITLE:  The Rough Guide To Psychedelic Africa 
LABEL:  World Music Network 
REVIEW:  The Rough Guide series wades into the burgeoning African-psych-reissue category for the first time, and their angle is a little bit different. This isn’t a deep diggers’ collection: all 11 tracks here have been released or reissued on top labels like Vampisoul, Strut, Buda Musique and Stern’s.  In fact, two of the tracks (3 and 8) aren’t vintage at all – they’re recent recordings by veteran artists who are still working today.  Additionally, while all the tracks here are influenced by the psychedelic movement, not one of them could be described as “rock.”  Rather, the psych elements are grafted onto local popular styles like Nigerian juju (track 2) and highlife (10), and Tanzanian muziki wa dansi (7).  The closest this collection gets to psych-rock is the deep blues of track 5 which is closer to New Orleans traditional jazz than it is to rock.  But enough about what this collection isn’t – what it is is a well-chosen selection of outstanding music from across Africa that happens to be psych inflected.  Hardcore African music heads will already own many of these tracks; hopefully this collection will introduce many listeners to a few of the glories of this era. 
TOP TRACKS:    2    4    7    10
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    all of the rest of them

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