Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Where Naija meets Nashville...


We've talked before about the immense popularity of "sentimental" country music in Nigeria, so just for kicks I just decided to assemble a sample pack of indigenous takes on that particular sound.

Believe me, I know a lot of you are not going to be feeling this one, but just indulge me, 'kay?

(I nicked the photo above from Sea Never Dry, on recommendation by Zim. Sure, the posse of African desperadoes in the pic are Congolese and not Nigerian, but you get the general idea being conveyed, don't you? Besides, the Seydou Keita image I had up previously was Malian and much more obtuse.)

DOWNLOAD Naija Sounds in Country & Western Music

1. "Midnight Sun" - Henry Pedro
2. "Going Back To My Wife" - Emma Ogosi
3. "Baby You" - Joe Nez
4. "Concert Fever" - Dedication
5. "Ever Liked My Person?" - Christy Essien-Igbokwe
6. "Where The Wind Blows" - Eric Kol
7. "Come Right Back" - Ofege
8. "Believe In Me" - Ed Jatto
9. "I'll Put It Right Again" - Oby Onyioha
10. "Show Me A Virgin (In A Maternity Ward)" - Bongos Ikwue

EDIT: Now @ 192 kbps! Sorry... I accidentally posted a mono mix the first time.

33 comments:

Birdseed said...

What an awesome set of tracks, I love the stripped-down feel of some of these especially. Henry Pedro's and Ed Jatto's tracks where the highlights for me, easily.

I know I'd pay good money for a proper, full-fi compo of this stuff!

Comb & Razor said...

ha... well, i'd figured you'd be one of the oddballs who'd dig something like this, Birdseed!

and yeah... when i was putting it together i DID find myself thinking "This wouldn't have been a bad idea for a compilation... back in the days when people still actually bought CDs, of course."

John B. said...

Back when I was doing my radio program, there was a fellow at the station named Mel Fristad who did a program called "The History of Country Music." He had tons of old 78s and those weird 17-inch radio aircheck records they used to put out.

Mel was doing a program on black country stars and asked me if I had any country or country-influenced music from Africa. All I could come up with was a couple of tracks from Southern Africa, and some Juju & Bembeya Jazz tracks featuring pedal steel guitar. I didn't have any Joe Nez records then.

On Christmas Eve 1992 there was a fire at Mel's house. As he was rushing inside to rescue his record collection Mel suffered a massive heart attack and died on the spot. A fellow obsessive like us!

I wish I'd had these tracks back then. Mel would've loved them!

Comb & Razor said...

aw... that's sad; Mel sounds like someone I might have liked to talk to!

I'm pretty interested in the history of country music amongst black peoples, though... in some ways its influence has been as far-reaching (if not as deep) as that of the blues, but it's not something people like to talk about.

for this mix, I originally planned to include some juju and other stuff that weaves country strands into an indigenous fabric in a holistic way, but i decided to just stick to overt, literal translations.

Kris Tiner said...

Great mix! Where can I find some more Henry Pedro...?

Comb & Razor said...

Kris -

i know of only one Henry Pedro album, Tender Loving, produced by Tony Okoroji and featuring instrumentation by Nkono Teles,

(both are probably best known for their electro-funk work with Dizzy K, but Teles seems to have had quite an interest in C&W--he was a member of the country-lovin' supergroup Dedication with Feladey and Ben Alaka and there were some twangy undertones to a few tracks on his electro/freestyle LP Party Beats.)

i'll probably post some more Pedro later.

Comb & Razor said...

oh yeah... Okoroji and Teles did the Ed Jatto as well.

Kris Tiner said...

cool - I'll look forward to it. I'm assuming Tender Loving is where this one comes from?

Thanks again for the ever-good music...

Comb & Razor said...

yep... that's the album "Midnight Sun" comes from.

thanks a lot for listening! i must say i'm a bit tickled that people are actually digging this... i expected the response to range somewhere between mild indifference and outright contempt!

John B. said...

80 kbps?

Comb & Razor said...

oh, is it? arrghh... i'll fix that!

thanks for letting me know, JB.

Anonymous said...

Comb,

I'm getting an error message Naija Sounds not found on this server. Is there some trick I'm not seeing?

thanks for putting this comp. together. I assure you there are many of us that want to hear the whole crazy spectrum of Nigerian & African music.


The President Elect

Comb & Razor said...

sorry about that... try it again; it should be working properly now.

nikkos said...

"Midnight Sun" is awesome- the whistling! Thanks for posting up these rarities.

gravitysra1nbow said...

awesome mix! thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

more henry pedro please...

Comb & Razor said...

there will be! (it doesn't all sound like this song, though)

Stani said...

wonderful mix here! i absolutely luv it! thanx!

Stani said...

more of the bongos ikwue plz!

Comb & Razor said...

hmmm... it's not too often that i have people asking for Bongos! i've planned some posts on him to come sometime in the near future, though.

gilhodges said...

You should never have doubted yourself — or your devoted followers. This country music is killer stuff. It has always been fascinating to me that, for a period during the late '50s into the '60s, American C&W became popular in parts of the Continent. For some reason Jim Reeves was much beloved in certain areas of East Africa (Kenya, yes?) I think there is much of the troubadour spirit — just a guy traveling with a guitar — that has antecedents in the griot tradition. The mobility of the music/musician; the storytelling and reportage on social mores; the play for your supper and a warm, dry place to sleep for the night. It really should be no suprise, I guess, that country & western sounds and sensibilities could find an African audience.

I hope you have all heard the amazing track Chemirocha, which is reported to be the singing of the name "Jimmie Rodgers," by some Kipsigi people of Kenya. I first found this track on a wonderful Kenyan compilation put out by the late great Original Music. The Porch of the Mystics blog furthers the story, though I'm loathe to believe the story of the Centaur-like spirit mentioned. Either way, it is a fantastic song.

Love & peace,
gilhodges

Thumperton said...

this is the business!

actually just the first song really blows me off my feet, so beautiful. the rest seems more literally country & I kinda tune it out since I can't skip tracks

Brendan said...

Wow I had no idea. Thanks so much for this.

Comb & Razor said...

gilhodges -

sorry, i replied your comment before but it looks like it didn't go through (that's odd)

but yeah... i feel like a total dope for doubting, especially since this particular mix seems to have turned out to be one of the most popular posts in the history of this blog!

i guess i forget the diversity of readers out there--some like the highlife/native blues, others prefer the afrobeat/rock, others yet might like some of the more oddball pop cultural dversions.

then you have the hardcore fans of funk/boogie, and they are often intolerant of any kind of Nigerian or African music that can not be construed as "funky"...

if i pull out a record like Oby Onyioha's I Want To Feel Your Love, they'll tell me that the album has only two good songs on it--the discofied title track and the funky "Enjoy Your Life."

if i say, "hey, what about the lovely country ballad 'Put It Right Again'?" they'd look at me like i'm crazy and dismiss it as "boring rubbish."

since it is this segment of readers that tends to communicate with me directly more than any other, i sometimes assume that they constitute the majority. my bad!

i think your analogy between the troubadour and the griot is quite apt... as much as the stereotype holds that Europeans favor melody over rhythm and African music inversely is al-rhythm and no melody, it's really not accurate at all. Africans have always been attracted to pastoral, highly melodic music and the kind of vivid storytelling inherent to country.

i actually had not heard "Chemirocha"... it's a beautiful track and i've been unable to stop listening to it for a few days now! thanks for the heads-up!

(and the story behind "Chemirocha" is even more deliciously bizarre than the song itself!)

grooVemonzter said...

First time I've commented on your blog. Thanks for all the great post. These African/country tracks are brilliant. And interesting. When the Beatles and the Stones played county there was always an element of condescension. Leave it to Africans to treat what is the quintisential white man's music with respect. Much food for thought here. Thanks for the post. Cole

Comb & Razor said...

Thanks a lot, Cole!

(Nice blogs you got there, by the way!)

¡Mateo es así! said...

Excellent comp and I also love the Henry Pedro especially.

jacky said...

hello can you repost the link please.....thanks

Comb & Razor said...

Jacky -

I'm having some trouble with my FTP, so none of the links on the blog are working at the moment... I hope to get that fixed soon, though!

Anonymous said...

Can this file be linked again? Dying to hear it.

Comb & Razor said...

I'll have to see if I still have the file...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for checking. Just ran across this post, never been more excited to hear something off a blog, then never more bummed to se it wasn't linked!

Comb & Razor said...

email me. combrazor at yahoo dot com.