Summer, it has to be said, was a bitch. This observation is made not as a statement about the weather, though that has added to the eternal sense of gloom and subdued emotions, but as a reflection on the intense emotional roller coaster it became. My wife's dad died and, as is always the case in moments like this, whole new elements of past turmoil were thrown to the surface as she and her brothers wrestled with conflicted feelings. That said he was a good man, though not in the classical sense of that phrase, but he sure as hell left a big mess behind to tidy up.
Music played as big a part as you could hope for, given the, what seemed like, endless drives up and down France with the ipod blaring reminding me of all the good stuff I'd forgotten about and all the new stuff I hadn't written about. As well as hearing old stuff again I got to know such great new stuff (well new to me anyway) like Sir Victor Uwaifo's Guitar-Boy Superstar 1970-76.
Now given the modest nature of the title I didn't know what to expect but if you're going to buy one record, or CD this week make it this one. Admittedly people may get a little tired after track 14 or so, but hey, don't turn your nose up at great value. However this music glides, swoops and lifts the spirits so it was ideal for me. Having been around the Island offices back in the day, when they were releasing King Sunny Ade and hanging out with Jumbo from Mango I can't understand how I never came across Sir Victor before. In the early 80s I co-hosted a club where we featured African acts, like Prince Nico Mbarga, who were passing through London. On top of the live bands we were the first to heavily feature all this brilliant music on the decks, and I still hadn't heard from Vic.
There are plenty of other writers out there who could give you chapter and verse on Victor's astonishing life, the fine essence of his music and what corner of the field his roots came from but as far as I'm concerned that just obscures the wonder that runs through this album like the word FUCKING AMAZING through a stick of rock. Tracks like Kirikisi, and Obodo Eyo with it's honey sax, Idogo or Iye Iye, on and on and on. The locked rhythm section, the sway and swoon of the music, the exquisite guitar work and all this was in the early seventies. Come on.
Hats off then to this Living Legend and Music Superstar, this Sportsman and Philosopher, this Sculptor and Inventor (as he points out on his website). I get so much mocking from friends for championing music from other languages, or other continents; for so many there's some kind of mental block when it comes to lyrics being sung in a foreign language, much the same kind of fear folk have of watching films with subtitles! Heaven forbid! Try to remember what was the last, well made British film and then look across the channel to France, Spain or Germany and marvel at the myriad examples of excellence. Well, y'know, music is the same (not France though.....) so rush out and buy Sir Victor and open up a whole new dimension in your life.
Hurrah Dawn Landes has released her version of Young Folks. Run as fast as you can to your compooooters and download it and make her a big big popstar. Here she is, she is beautiful and wonderful: