Thursday, August 21, 2008

Now... Let's see if I can even remember how to do this...

Man, my blogging days feel almost like a distant memory of a past life... Hard to believe it's been just over two months!

Didn't mean for it to happen that way, though; it's not like I elected to take the summer off or anything... For two or three weeks in June I got a bit bogged down by the 9-to-5, a couple other extracurricular projects I was working on, and certain developments in my private life, and next thing I knew, With Comb & Razor had fallen off the map!

I was surprised and encouraged that so many of you cared enough to check up on me and let me know you miss seeing new entries on this page, though... (Sorry I haven't been able to reply everybody, by the way...) For real, I'm aware that the blogoverse is a ruthlessly competitive market with the collective attention span of a fruit fly so I think I half-expected to be forgotten by mid-July!

Oh yeah... On the subject of being forgotten, I just noticed today that the Village Voice has up a new piece on the wave of music blogs dedicated to digging up obscure grooves from Africa and beyond, and you think my humble efforts over here might've merited even a cursory mention?

I know it's probably not cool for me to imply that I actually care about this kind of thing, and it is extremely petty for me to even mention it at all (especially since I am genuinely happy to see my peoples Frank, John B. and Matt get some shine) and and I truly do this for the love and not the laurels, but dubya tee eff, man... what's a brother got to do to get a little love? I mean, the Naija blogosphere has continued to refuse to acknowledge me, but I kinda understand that since most of its denizens were barely even a tingling sensation in their daddy's groin by the time most of the music I generally post about was current, but if my blog can't rate even minimal face time with the trendy hipster contingent at least as token esoterica, why don't I just hang up my Blogger account now and get a new hobby (or better yet, one of those "life" things I hear folks going on about)? Like, is there even any point in my bothering to soldier on in this thankless racket?

...And a small voice from deep within whispers, "Yes... Yes, there is." E'en in the darkness of obscurity, Comb & Razor toils on, going the distance to bring you the best in cool and rare Nigerian music and pop culture oddities!

Speaking of which: Part of why I've been silent the past month or so is because I've been in Nigeria since early July and most of my time has been taken up by record digging. And malaria. But mainly record digging. It takes up a lot of time and energy, though. I tell ya, I was planning to chronicle some of my vinyl-hunting adventures, Voodoo Funk-style, but really... A lot of it is just not that interesting. Just a lot of driving around, and talking, and explaining over and over exactly what you are looking for (and sometimes why you are looking for it), and breathing in enough dust and mold to fell an army of Cossack horsemen.

It's been totally worth it, though... I can't wait to share some of my amazingly awesome finds with you all. Unfortunately, I only have my Numark portable turntable here and it's not USB-ready, so ripping vinyl is a bit of a toughie. I'll try running it through a pre-amp, but I fear that it will end up with that crappy sound I got when I tried that back in the day. Also, my scanner seems to have broken in transit and I haven't even confirmed that I can upload music to my site yet, so the new posts with new music might have to wait till I'm back stateside.

Thankfully, I prepared a contingency plan for circumstances such as these, and I have a bunch of old-but-never-posted entries sitting in the vault, ready to go: my interrogation of the legacy of Nigerian flautist Tee-Mac, reminiscences about 1980s funk musician Rick Asikpo, an interview with Theadora Ifudu, my long-delayed five (or six)-part exploration of why 1984 was "The Year Nigerian Music Started to Suck," and some other stuff. I might also put up a transcript of a University of Mainz-organized seminar on highlife music I attended recently, featuring highlife legends Ebo Taylor, Stan Plange, Peter King and Chris Ajilo.

Anyway, I'm off to look for more music... Hit me up with any requests y'all might have and I'll see what I can do, eh?

We're back in business, my people...


nikkos said...

Please know your efforts ARE appreciated! Keep doin' what you're doin'! Do it your own way, and at your own pace. Fuck the hipsters- this music is too good for them anyways :)

Ebere said...

I have been listening to Nigerian music of the 70s for a couple of months, and the tracks that you've posted are excellent, especially the ones by Aktion. My parents love the Flashback 2 that i downloaded from your site, and i was wondering if you had anymore songs by the Wings or The Strangers, and possibly a picture of both bands. Thanks for all the music you post.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you are back! We appreciate the music and the time and effort. Keep doing your thing.

John B. said...

When the author "interviewed" me by e-mail, I specifically mentioned Comb & Razor as one of my favorite blogs, one that consistently gets out "real" African music to the public (the other two I cited were Voodoo Funk & VOA African Music Treasures). I'm glad Frank & the others got props, and myself of course, but he should have mentioned you!

As for the Naija blogosphere not giving you recognition, what else is new? They're a bunch of shitheads.

Welcome back. I'm looking forward to the new sounds!

Robert Song said...

Love your work. Good to see your back.

Comb & Razor said...

thanks a lot, all... it feels great to be back!

ebere: yes, i have more Wings music coming up... don't have much more by The Strangers, though; i don't know if they actually released any LPs and their 45s are hard to come by.

but incidentally, a few weeks ago i had a beer and a chat with Emma China, drummer for Original Wings (which is, of course, different from the original Wings) and Semi-Colon and he shared with me some vintage photos of the band, along with snaps of Cloud 7 and some other groups and also pics from a recent revival concert featuring Wings, Sweet Breeze and Apostles.

i'm probably gonna see him again in a few weeks and i'll try to bring my video camera this time.

Frank said...

Great to have you back!
It really is lame of the Voice to not have your blog included in the article... I really thought they would. I mean you post up so much and such diverse stuff.

So how has Lagos been to you? been doing some filming? I'm in NYC now so we should connect in the real world, do some record trading and some beer drinking one of these days! Drop me a mail!

Undercover Black Man said...

Eff the Village Voice!

Welcome back into the mix.

Comb & Razor said...

UBM: thanks a lot, bruh... good to see ya!

Frank: nah... not actually doing any shooting now, though we're tackling a lot of the business that leads up to that.

(i do look forward to seeing your doc, though!)

Lagos was a lot of fun, though i've actually been in Aba the past few days... i'm quite eager to see what kind of goodies i might find in the eastern part of the country!

i should be in NYC sometime in September or October, and i'll definitely look you up!

Aristizzle said...

Don't you worry, this blog is greatly appreciated and not just by record nerds. It is, admittedly, pretty lame the Voice didn't give this blog props. I've certainly dl'ed my fair share of music-life-changing sounds from Frank and Matt, but you too for sure, namely because you often post entire lps. I mean, you introduced me to Ofege, Monomono and BLO for goodness sakes. As for "trendy hipsters," most take their self-images too seriously to even try and dance so I wouldn't sweat it. WELCOME BACK & KEEP IT UP!

MsMak said...

Glad to see you back man! Didn't want to bug you cause hey, its a wonderful non-profit service you've been providing, so i figure if you want some time off, its your prerogative.

Not sure how they skipped recognizing you; pretty much every blog i've been to that references old school african music links up to you as well. Ma worry, "just do it for the love..."(a la singer Joy Denalane). Per the Naija you said, they are all were too little or not yet born to remember the music, and they aren't interested in their musical history, just more champagne-popping music. But it's all good.

Anyway, looking forward to your digging-in-the-crates chronicles. Cheers mate!

Anonymous said...

welcome back biotch

dj said...

Great to have you back!
Thanks for your efforts.
'm looking for a rip of "L'Orchestre National "A" de la République du Mali" + "Orchestre Regional de Segou". Both of them were released under Mali music label.
'Have find them on matsuli's dope blog. but too late !

Let me know if u can help me.

Best regards,


Comb & Razor said...

don't have either one of those, Mitsu... but i'll keep an eye out!

aduna said...

The African blogosphere doesn't need Village Voice's article to know that you're one of the best blog in the house!
Welcome back...

Emm said...

A friend recommended your site as the place for old school 'naija' hits. I came, I saw, I am impressed. Will visit many more times. Well done oooooo!!!

Matt said...

The people who care and know about the kind of music you post all know that you're one the best out there.

Your collection and posts are inspiring and humbling. Keep it up!


Robert said...

It was nice meeting you in person and really discussion music of the 70s.

Did I tell you someone gave me 50 old records? I am still wondering where to start.

Da Hurricane Man

Comb & Razor said...


yeah, it was great hanging out with you (too bad i wasn't able to make it back to the club later!)... i'll have those Jimmy Cliff joints up for you by tomorrow, promise!

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know your work is appreciated... You post not just the music but also some background, and reading your blog has enrinched in many ways, and there've been a number of surprises too.

Nimshi V.

Comb & Razor said...

Thanks a lot for the kind words, Nimshi... and thanks for following the blog!