Thursday, November 08, 2007

The sun will shine on me someday...

Probably not today, though; it's colder than a witch's teat out here!

Figuratively, at least, I can say a couple of rays of sunlight have speared through the clouds for me of late. After days of fruitlessly wrestling with the whole vinyl recording conundrum, I eventually gave in, went out and bought a USB turntable. This initially annoyed me to no end: I hate spending money on stuff like that, especially since I already have a record player that works perfectly fine (except, apparently, when it comes to transmitting its output into a computer). It very quickly justified itself as a wise purchase, though... And I'll admit to feeling bit impressed with myself for actually owning a piece of audio technology manufactured later than the early 1990s! One of these days I think I'ma even up the stakes and go get me an iPod! Then I'll truly be ballin' on that George Jetson futuristic tip!

Another interesting thing that happened lately: Yesterday I exchanged a couple of emails with Melvin Ukachi, the lead singer/guitarist of Ofege! Really nice guy... He's quite pleased that y'all are still feeling those records that he made years ago when he was a small boy and hopefully, he'll contribute some stuff to this blog in the near future.

(And once again, massive big-ups to the Hurricane Man for giving me the hook-ups. Imela ooo!)

Anyway... Let's get to some unfinished business. Here's one of the albums I was supposed to have posted back in... June, I think. Sunshine by The Lijadu Sisters.

This is another Biddy Wright production recorded at the Decca Studios in Lagos and it pretty much follows the template set on Danger: Taiwo & Kehinde's songs are mostly composed of a single, repeated verse sung in unison while Biddy Wright improvises around them. This time, though, most of the tunes have a strong gospel bent to them (except for maybe the flirty "Promise" and the Wright-penned "Come and Dance").

Whereas Wright handled most of the instrumentation on Danger himself, this time around he employs a solid crew of session players including Tony Allen associate Candido Obajimi, Gboyega Adelaja (who played keyboards in Hugh Masekela's great early-70s band), and Jerry Ihejeto (who would later play bass for Sonny Okosuns and then enjoy some minor solo success on the late-90s World Music™ scene as a reggae star). Wright mostly restricts himself to manning the synthesizers (which probably seemed like a good idea at the time but hindsight is 20/20, isn't it? Oh well!).

Another interesting contributor to this record: Basil Okafor, renowned artist and journalist who writes insightfully about Nigerian politics and popular culture. He designed the album art and provided the lovely watercolor cover illustration.

THE LIJADU SISTERS - SUNSHINE (Afrodesia, 1978, DWAPS 2046)

Jimmy Lee Adams - Rhythm and lead guitars
Candido Obajimi - Drums
Jerry Ihejeto - Bass guitar
Gboyega Adelaja - Electric piano
Biddy Wright - String ensemble, synthesizers, congas, electric piano, guitar
Aras Adeyemo & Solomon Omikunle - Trumpets

All songs except "Come and Dance" written by Lijadu Sisters
"Come and Dance" written by Biddy Wright


Download the zip from MEGAUPLOAD or preview and download each track from DIVSHARE.*

(Bear with me today, peoples... I probably won't use DivShare again after this.)

Ah, whaddaya know? In the time it's taken me to type this, the sun has come out after all....

Addendum: Whoa! When I was linking up those Basil Okafor articles above, I came across a related link that alerted me to the fact that Cyprian Ekwensi passed away last Sunday! How did I miss this?

TOO MUCH BEAUTIFUL WOMAN was actually dedicated to him and I had really hoped that he would get to see it.

Damn. I'm bummed out. (And coincidentally enough, the sun has disappeared again.)

*Did those DivShare files even work for anybody? They didn't for me... Alright, I'm through with 'em! Download track by track right here:

SIDE A

1. Come and Dance
2. Promise
3. Set Me Free

SIDE B

1. Sunshine
2. Reincarnation
3. Turbulent Waters

12 comments:

dj earball said...

Thanks for this... I've been curious about the Lijadu Sisters for some time, but have only seen them pop up on the occasional compilation album. Good to have a chance to hear a bit more of them. Even if it took 5 months of patient waiting (smile!).

dj earball
SoundRoots.org

Bigdaf said...

Ah, those USB turntables, do they really work. I tried converting (spent almost 3 to 6 months) my vinyl to MP3 using a pre-amp that connected my turntable to my PC, but the result was so dissapointing. I have reverted to a normal TurnTable connected to a CD recorder on my Hi-Fi and then ripping with Creative software to MP3 on my PC. Its a roundabout way of doing it, but at least the quality is good (in my opinion).

Talking about Ofege, I was at a Naija restaurant (Delta Tavern - Peckham Rye) last Saturday at about 1am eating Starch and Banga, when the owner put on a CD - Flashback Hits of a decade Part 1. I promised to give him a copy of Part II next time I am there (probably next week).

I'll tell him its thanks to you.

Bigdaf

Comb & Razor said...

Daf:

yeah, these USB turntables are a godsend! that pre-amp stuff was not working for me at all... i might as well have just held a tape recorder in front of the speakers the way it was sounding!

and yes: by all means, tell the restaurant owner that it is thanks to ME that he has the Flashback II compilation... hopefully that will at least guarantee me a big plate of pounded yam and egusi the next time i'm South London!

earball:

i knew you would appreciate it... you know what they say about those who wait patiently, right?


...err... come to think of it, i really can't remember what they say, but i'm sure it's something good!

Wes said...

Thanks for posting this. Can't wait.

John B. said...

The thing about digitizing w/a turntable is that you have to find a way to bypass your computer's sound card, which is usually a piece of junk. Before I caught on to this, I was having a dickens of a time finding the proper input level (there being one adjustment on the computer sound card and another on the Radio Shack mixing board I was using as a pre-amp, which by the way was also introducing a hell of a lot of background noise into the mix!) I was getting recordings that were either over-saturated or recorded too low and overwhelmed by assorted aural junk.

I got around this problem with a direct-to-USB pre-amp, into which I plugged the jacks from my Numark turntable.

Of course, you can accomplish the same feat with your USB turntable (and why didn't someone think of this earlier!)

Comb & Razor said...

John:

well NOW you tell me! LOL

yeah, i figured that the computer's sound card had to be the x factor because every other component had been thoroughly tested and confirmed to be functional. so the main appeal of a USN turntable was that it had its own sound card.

but man... your setup sounds pretty elaborate! it's a lot of trouble to go through... someone's got to invent a better way soon, like a straight dubbing deck for vinyl or something!

Wes:

no worries, mate... enjoy!

matt said...

thanks again...go and check out franks pics at voodoofunk

Comb & Razor said...

just got back from there... he sure scored some interesting finds!

John B. said...

I thought I told you that about the sound card. Sorry! Anyway, I was tipped of to that by Doug Paterson.

It sounds like you've solved the problem with your USB turntable. The Lijadu tracks sounds good.

Comb & Razor said...

yeah, you probably did tell me... but i go was getting so much conflicting advice from different people, it probably got lost somewhere in the shuffle.

all is well with the world now!

calumbinho said...

All right! I'm very excited about having that joni haastrup album at voodoofunk posted up here in the future. I was wondering if you know anything about Monomono's 1971 Adele, listed at the very bottom of http://www.africanmusicsource.com/resume.html, or the Afro-Cult Foundation 1979 album (Deusa Negra, maybe?) with a track they used in that "Nigeria 70" 3-cd comp...
Thanks for the wonderful music.

Comb & Razor said...

yeah, i'm gonna post the Joni Haastrup & Monomono stuff but i'm just trying to put together a bigger feature on them and it's taking a little time to get all the pieces together!

"Adele"... hmmm. it doesn't immediately ring a bell. as far as i know, Monomono only released 2 albums and i don't think it's on either one, so it's probably one of their non-album singles.

i'll check to see if it's something i have... i've got a bunch of 45s i haven't listened to in forever.

as for A Deusa Negra... i haven't seen that record in years! (you probably know that it was the soundtrack to a Nigeria-Brazil coproduction) i'm looking out for it, though...

anyway, keep checking. i'm trying to post everyday, starting... um... tomorrow, i guess!