Review: Following last year's long overdue 'best of' collection, Ghanaian highlife guitar legend Ebo Taylor returns to Strut with a brand new full-length. Named after a landmark in his hometown, Appia Kwa Bridge features both Tony Allen and Berlin-based band Afrobeat Academy. With Taylor's sweet guitar solos and emotive vocals to the fore, it's a thoroughly enjoyable set. The songs and grooves are traditional enough to impress authentic highlife fans, but suitably new enough to breathe new life into the genre. There are, for example, a couple of great acoustic moments (check, in particular, "Yaa Amponsaah") amongst the celebratory dancefloor jams and high-on-life anthems.
Review: Now aged 82 and still recording, Ebo Taylor is a true giant of the Ghanaian music scene whose career goes all the way back to the 1950s. Along the way he's worked with Fela Kuti and been widely sampled by hip-hop producers, and here Mr Bongo bring us four new mixes of three cuts from his 'Yen Ara' album, which was released earlier this year. Ron Trent's take on 'Krumandey' and Nick The Record's rub of 'Mumudey Mumudey' will go down well on house floors, while the Nature Flako remix of the latter and the Black Fan mix of 'Mind Your Own Business' are more geared towards specialist Afro jocks.
Review: The unstoppable Strut label, usually associated to outstanding reissue anthologies, welcome a surprise package to their catalogue, and boy is this special. Ebo Taylor, one of Ghana's most prolific musicians over the last thirty years, is remixed by none other than Henrik Schwarz, German deep house king and electronic deviant. The track in question is "Ene Nyame Nam A Mensuro", which is transformed by Schwarz into a lively house number complete with Taylor's vocals and plenty of electronic tweaking and processing. The end result is just a straight-up summer jacker. Check!
Review: In afrobeat circles, Ghanaian highlife guitarist Ebo Taylor has long been regarded as one of the scene's most undervalued talents. During his golden period during the 1970s, Taylor was responsible for some landmark recordings - not just as an artist, but composer, arranger and producer. This comprehensive set from serial crate-diggers Strut revisits that fertile period, gathering together the best of Taylor's solo, collaborative and production work. For those with a passing interest in afrobeat and highlife, it's near-essential. Highlights come thick and fast, from the strangely spaced-out grooves of "Peace On Earth" and lazy afro jazz-funk of "Ohiana Sua Efir" to the deep fried highlife disco-funk of "Yes Indeed" and epic American R&B stylings of "Aba Yaa".
Review: Henrik Schwarz's surprise remix of "Ene Nyame Nam 'A' Mensuro' - a suitably obscure collaboration between Ghanian highlife legends Ebo Taylor and Pat Thomas, originally released somewhere round the turn of the '80s on a ridiculously rare LP - has arguably been one of the underground dancefloor hits of the summer. A ten-minute chunk of loose and languid, Highlife-deep house fusion, Schwarz has cleverly combined sections of the sweet-as-you-like original with his own atmospheric electronics and tech-house influenced beats. The veteran German producer also provides a dub, which strips out the vocal and allows his electronics, Taylor's delicious guitars and the original's punchy horns a little more room to breathe.