A Melange of Musical Pipedreams and Pandemonium
While the title of this post sounds like one of my own mix-tape creations, it's actually the title of the latest encyclopedic, music-reference tome from the prolific author Vernon Joynson. Over the past several years, I've been intrigued with the plethora of music reference books available which highlight the most obscure artists in the pantheon of music. The first books I heard about that were written by Vernon Joynson were Fuzz, Acid and Flowers and The Tapestry of Delights, but the price of these has always been so exorbitant that I could only hold the vision that there would be a new pressing that was more affordable. Recently, I discovered that he had released a revision of one of his earlier books Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares from Far Away Lands Revisited that would showcase music coming out of Turkey, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and the Middle East. After doing some research about the cost of landing a copy of the aforementioned A Melange of Musical Pipedreams and Pandemonium, I determined that it would be a necessary investment in my creative well-being. It arrived yesterday, so while I haven't had a chance to delve into it extensively, I can already tell that it contains a wealth of information about undiscovered gems.
Mansion- The Love Song and Devil Woman
From: Devil Woman [Clover, 1976]
For today's post, I'm featuring a couple rare track from the Nigerian band Mansion, first discovered in A Melange of Musical Pipedreams and Pandemonium. Devil Woman was released on Clover records in 1976, a label featuring records by other head-spinning afro-rock artists like The Doves, Aktion and The Apostles. From the cover of the album, you would probably peg this as another African high-life record akin to the classic sounds of King Sunny Ade. While the record does feature sunny melodies that ride the intoxicating rhythm of high life, it also features a strong funk and psychedelic vibe that elevates these songs to a higher level.
The first track I'm featuring today is appropriately titled "The Love Song", and it's almost exactly what you would expect to hear. From the chiming organ and upbeat rhythms throughout this track, you are in for a serious hit of aural sunshine. Every single instrument is perfectly in synch, especially the way the catchy vocals blend with the organ and shuffling rhythm. If you can sit still while listening to this track, then you probably need to make sure your heart's still beating. I simply can't stop bobbing my head and tapping my feet while listening to this song, and I can almost say with a certainty that you will find yourself in a positive head-space after listening to it.
The second track that I'm featuring from this record is called "Devil Woman". I'm definitely getting a groovy Fela Kuti Afro-beat vibe from the beginning of the track, but it quickly switches gears into an acidic guitar solo that slowly develops into the first verse of the track. It's another tasty tune with catchy vocals laid over a bed of funky rhythms, stinging guitar and complex percussion. I especially love the slightly fuzzed out solo towards the middle of the track, and the overall insistent groove of the song. It gives the listener the feeling of a groove that never stops until the break of day.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and I look forward to sharing more music with all of you on a more regular basis.