Tuesday, August 26, 2008

(Part of) Today's Haul

I fear I shall never get the grime out from under my fingernails but I'm still pretty pleased with the day's take.

I haven't gone through them all, but so far I am most excited about finding a heretofore unknown William Onyeabor LP called Good Name, from 1981. My bad... Did I say 1981? It's actually from 1983. 1981 is the release year of Great Lover, the other rare Onyeabor LP I found. Take my word when I tell you Good Name is easily the most INSANE of all his records. Pure psychedelic synth madness!

And then there is this album by Ken Eme/First Flight:

I feel pretty sure that me and my friend Enyi are the only two human beings on earth who remember this record and I've been looking for it for... twenty-four years maybe?

First Flight never really made much impact outside of Calabar (or even within it), but we loved to watch their music videos on TV after school because they wore fly-looking space boots and had some really cool elctric boogie dancers (including a midget in Raphael Cameron pants).

There are a lot of records from my childhood that I remember being really hot and funky, but turn out to be disappointing when I listen to them today (I still love them for sentimental reasons, of course). I half expected this to be one of those records, but NOPE! it's full of that lean, glossy Jake Sollo boogie sound and I'm pretty sure heads are gonna dig the hell out of it, so stay tuned, true believers!

Ah well... It's started raining and that always messes with this server, so I better publish this while I can. More to come later...

(Sorry about the crappy pics, yo... NEPA is on half current so I couldn't get any good light on them.)

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...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My poor blog has been left to seed, hasn't it?

I gotta start posting again, yo...

Next week.


(Just wanted to let y'all know that I'm not dead)