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Mr Bongo Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records

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Jungle Brown
Full Circle

Soulful, old-school hip-hop sounds are safe in the hands of Jungle Brown, who created a stir on Spotify back in 2016 with their debut album Flight 314 even without any marketing or promotion. Now, the trio - consisting of Ric Flo, MAEAR and Tony Bones - are readying their sophomore effort Full Circle.  
  • Label(s):
  • Mr Bongo

Hozan Yamamoto with Sharps & Flats
Beautiful Bamboo-Flute

Everyone’s getting in on the Japanese jazz reissues these days. Studio Mule, BBE and Mr. Bongo are just three of the labels who’ve delivered new editions of old LPs in recent years. The latter come through with the goods again in the form of Beautiful Bamboo-Flute, a 1971 rarity that saw the legendary shakuhachi (bamboo-flute) player Hozan Yamamoto team up with the Sharps And Flats - one of the country’s most celebrated big-bands. Together they create a bombastic and brilliant noise on Beautiful Bamboo-Flute, a large-ensemble fusion-funk style that really struts. Cracking stuff.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Zantoda Mark III
Control

Control by Gyedu-Blay Ambolley and Zantoda Mark III has been rather hard to get hold of since its release in 1980. The album mixes highlife sounds (a modern twist on traditional Ghanaian rhythms played with western instruments) with synth-based funk and boogie. This reissue follows the albums Ambolley and Simigwa, also reissued by Mr. Bongo.

Ebo Taylor Jnr with Wuta Wazutu
Gotta Take It Cool

Yes, Ebo Taylor Jnr. is indeed the son of the legendary Ghanaian bandleader/guitarist/singer Ebo Taylor. Seems like talent runs in the family - the 1978 LP Gotta Take It Cool finds Junior team up with Wuta Wazutu for a set of highlife and Afrobeat tunes that would make his father proud. Original copies of Gotta Take It Cool are extremely difficult to track down these days, so it’s a good thing Mr. Bongo have got this reissue together.

Ze Roberto
Lotus 72 D

And there’s this Norman Records™ keyboard cat thinking that the Zé Roberto we were dealing with was the former Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Brazil footballer. More fool me. Anyway, the Z-Rob in question is another Brazilian who made one LP and a few singles in the 70’s. 1973’s ‘Lotus 72 D’, a tribute to champion Formula 1 driver Emerson Fittipaldi, is a strutting samba-funk number that has been subject to renewed interest since its inclusion on the 2001 compilation Via Brazil. On that album it was pitched up in what became known as the ‘Fast Version’, something Mr. Bongo have included on this 7” alongside the original.

Minoru Muraoka
Bamboo

Re-issue on CD and vinyl of a formerly ultra-rare Japanese jazz / breakbeat record used as source material for the likes of DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist among others. Bamboo by Minoru Muraoka is a perfect example of culture fusion, blending traditional Japanese instrumentation with Western-based jazz techniques. 

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
Ambolley

Resurgent interest in the music of Gyedu Blay Ambolley spawns another reissue. One spin of 1982’s sophomore LP Ambolley is enough for you to understand why people are suddenly so keen on the Ghanaian artist’s music. This is a set of superbly funky highlife disco/boogie for which Ambolley is a charismatic and beguiling focal point. Original copies of Ambolley are very hard to track down, so nice one to Mr. Bongo for getting this new edition together.

Rob
Rob

Despite his unassuming moniker Rob was one of the most vital Ghanaian artists of the 1970s. After cutting his teeth with the acclaimed Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, Rob released a couple of solo LPs toward the end of the decade. Make It Fast, Make It Slow is his best-known, but his eponymous 1977 debut is a similarly delightful piece of West African funk-soul. Now we find the rare gem reissued by Mr. Bongo.
  • Artist(s):
  • Rob
  • Label(s):
  • Mr Bongo

Marijata
This Is Marijata

This is Marijata - or, at least, the afro-funk outfit's gorgeous debut album. Raw, organic and consistently laid back, this re-issued format does a sound job of reminding us of quite how sweet the formula of this forgotten trio was. Initially released from Gapophone label, this is the cream of the Ghanian crop.

Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas & Uhuru Yenzu
Hitsville Re-Visited

Good old crate digger label Mr Bongo here turns up a treat in the form of this 1982 LP by highlife super-trio Ebo Taylor, Pat Thomas and Uhuru Yenzu. Each artist was a master of the form in their own right, and Hitsville Re-Visited is a perfect distillation of their shared love for highlife and funk. Four bright and gorgeous cuts, presented in fully-official reissue form.

Arthur Verocai
Arthur Verocai

Well for once, the press release -- "one of the greatest albums ever made" -- sounds less like the usual over-enthusiastic blurb (hyperbole) and more in keeping with widely-held muso opinion. Arthur Verocai's self-titled solo record was a masterpiece produced, directed and created by the self-taught musician. Original copies of the 1972 classic recorded in Rio de Janeiro now fetch a heck of a lot of £££'s so here is a repress of the 2012 re-master supervised by the maestro Verocai himself. Truly music that transcends genre. Comes packaged in replica gatefold with artwork true to the original. On Mr Bongo records.

Shina Williams & His African Percussionists
African Dances

Despite the slew of compilations and reissues of music from 70s and 80s Lagos in the recent years, relatively little attention has been given to Shina Williams. The Nigerian band leader was one of the finest exponents of the funky Lagos style that fused Afrobeat, reggae, disco, highlife and more. There are few instances where his sound is in fuller effect than African Dances. One of these three lengthy dancefloor smashes is the crucial ‘Agboju Logun’.

Tom Zé
Estudando O Samba

Good pub quiz fact (if you're in a particular muso pub, that is) - Tom Zé was the first artist to sign to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Zé’s career spans many decades, epochs and styles, but most of his fans can agree that 1976’s Estudando o Samba is one of the Brazilian’s finest hours. A kaleidoscopic mix of soul, samba, folk, funk and more, there’s good reason that this LP was included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 best Brazilian records. Now Estudando o Samba has been reissued by the excellent Mr. Bongo.
  • Label(s):
  • Mr Bongo

Akira Ishikawa
Back To Rhythm

Japanese funk drummer Akira Ishikawa dropped his most famous effort back in 1975. It wouldn’t be on our website if it didn’t have that special flair that makes certain records so attractive to collectors: high energy, a unique approach, and near-total obscurity. Back to Rhythm was pretty much impossible to find until this Mr Bongo reissue.

Skull Snaps
Skull Snaps

Despite what the cover may lead you to believe, Skull Snaps were a soul/funk act. The band were an enigma, no one knew who they were and this self-titled LP was their only one. What you’d probably like to know is that it contains the track It’s A New Day, the drum intro of which has been sampled by DJ Shadow, Digable Planets and Eric B & Rakim, among others. That makes it a fairly essential purchase, doesn't it? Reissue LP and CD on Mr. Bongo with sleeve notes by Anton Spice.

Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
Simigwa

Mr. Bongo reissue this crucial 1970’s Ghanaian soul record. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley was one of the more significant figures to emerge in West Africa’s post-High-Life explosion. Channelling James Brown through the prism of Afrobeat, jazz and Ghanaian funk-rock, Ambolley’s 1975 LP Simigwa is as righteous as they come. It’s a good job they’ve re-cut this one, too - Simigwa’s rare original copies go for megabucks these days.

O’Seis
Suicida / Apocalipse

No, this isn’t the latest incarnation of (Thee) Oh Sees. In fact, it’s a previous incarnation of Os Mutantes. Three of those who would go on to form OM - Rita Lee and the Baptista brothers - were members of O’Seis. 1966 single Suicida/Apocalipse was the group's only release, but both tracks fizz with energy and spark. Neatly prefaces the tropicalia/psych-rock explosion that OM would spearhead a few years later.

Tunde Mabadu
Viva Disco

Some ultra-rare boogie Lagos here. Originally issued in 1980 and long lost to the annals of time, Tunde Mabadu’s Viva Disco is Nigerian disco par excellence. The tunes here boast ten-tonne grooves, and the slightly distorted recording only adds to their energy and verve. Anyone with an ear for the likes of Joni Haastrup, Shina Williams, Christy Essien and the like should head over this way. Re-released via Mr Bongo.

Jackson Sisters
Jackson Sisters

Reissued at last -- the first official reissue in decades -- by the always reliable Mr Bongo, it's the Jackson Sisters with their eponymous and only LP. Now regarded as a classic in the soul and funk genre, Jackson Sisters includes the massive rare groove hit, "I Believe In Miracles". They and the track were sampled many times but perhaps most notably by Public Enemy on their 1990 LP 'Fear Of A Black Planet'. Includes 9 other well crafted slices of funk, soul and pop: plus liner notes from Charles Waring.

Ebo Taylor
Yen Ara

At 82, you could forgive Ebo Taylor for taking it easy. After six decades in the game, he has nothing left to prove - a contemporary of Fela Kuti, an artist who has worked with the likes of Pat Thomas and one of the most celebrated musicians of post-independence Ghana. All of this leads us to one conclusion - he’s made his new LP Yen Ara because he still loves what he’s doing. One spin of tracks like the uproariously funky ‘Mumudey Mumudey’ proves this beyond dispute.

Burnier & Cartier
Burnier & Cartier

Brazil, 1974. Burnier & Cartier release this self-titled suite of super-fly boogie-jazz and disco-soul. Many have loved this music since then, but relatively few have owned it, due to low print runs and high prices. Thankfully Brighton’s Mr Bongo have stepped in with the reissue duties, allowing everybody to groove to this Brazilian wonder. LP with a replica of the original artwork.

Tim Maia
Disco Club

The public’s seemingly unquenchable desire for Brazilian sounds has led to the unearthing of another long-lost treasure. Tim Maia is something of a legend in his home country, producing endless wedges of Brazilian soul between 1970 and his death in 1998. His eighth LP pits his powerful baritone yip against muscular funk and disco grooves. Though reissued once in 1991, this is the first time Disco Club has resurfaced with the original track titles (they were changed for the 1991 pressing).

Ebo Taylor and The Pelicans
Ebo Taylor and The Pelikans

Ghanaian highlife hero Ebo Taylor gets the heavyweight reissue treatment from the ever-reliable Mr. Bongo for his rare and refined LP with The Pelikans. This is a gem of a record from one of the greats of West African grooves, all jubilant horns, loose funk and sweet soulful crooning from Taylor (on his first outing as a singer) with able assistance from Bessa Simmona and Fifi Orleans Lindsay.

Various
The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso

Why not delve into the music of the West African nation of Burkina Faso? Come on now, Mr Bongo have made it easy for you with this juicy compilation. The Original Sound of Burkina Faso contains artists from across a range of genres, but with funky good times running through almost every track here. Comes with a booklet of liner notes and photos on CD and double LP formats.
  • Label(s):
  • Mr Bongo

Gaby Hernandez
Spirit Reflection

LA singer-songwriter, Brainfeeder associate and Build An Ark founder Gaby Hernandez presents her third LP, Spirit Reflection. Expect a serene blend of electronics, acoustic instrumentation and rich vocal harmonies with that typically refreshing and breezy West Coast feel. Check the guests lining up here, too: Kamasi Washington, Lapalux, Kelis... the list goes on. Peterson approved of course.

Incredible Bongo Band
Bongo Rock

Bongo Rock is a reissue of the 1973 album by The Incredible Bongo Band. If you we’re wondering where all of your favourite hip hop and dance acts sampled their beats from, there’s a good chance they got them from here. Everyone from Beastie Boys to Jay-Z, Goldie to Aphex Twin have delved into this rich resource for drum samples and inspiration.

Pedro Santos
Krishnanda

This 1968 album by Pedro Santos makes the listener smile immediately with an opening volley of irresistible rhythm and brass fanfare. From there onwards, Krishnanda travels through some of the funkiest Brazilian music you ever heard, all with a definite psychedelic flavour. This joyous album is super-rare, but now Mr Bongo have reissued it!

Antonio Carlos & Jocafi
Mudei De Ideia

The debut album of Antonio Carlos and Jocafi, who managed great success with their psychedelic take on samba and funk music in Brazil in the 70’s. Mudei De Ideia was initially released in 1971 and is reissued now by Mr Bongo, packaged in the psych-haze variation on the sleeve art (much nicer than the more straight-laced variation).

Ebo Taylor
Twer Nyame

Ghana’s Ebo Taylor produced some thoroughly gorgeous highlife music in the 1970’s, comfortably relaxed and smooth-flowing. 1978’s Twer Nyame adds strong twists of jazz and afrobeat into the mix too. The political conditions at the time of release meant that these records were sparsely distributed at the time, so relish this timely reissue on Mr Bongo.

Ebo Taylor
My Love and Music

Ghana’s Ebo Taylor produced some thoroughly gorgeous highlife music in the 1970’s, comfortably relaxed and smooth-flowing. The political conditions at the time of release meant that records like 1975’s My Love and Music were sparsely distributed at the time, so relish this timely reissue on Mr Bongo.

Prince Fatty Versus Mungo's Hi Fi
Prince Fatty Versus Mungo's Hi Fi

Released on the much loved Mr Bongo record label, Prince Fatty Versus Mungo’s Hi Fi sees the group, Prince Fatty, take on Mungo’s Hi Fi’s reggae, dancehall tunes to layer on some extra dub vibes and build further on the fun, heavy reggae dance tunes from the reggae group. Available on CD or vinyl LP.

Incredible Bongo Band
The Return Of The Incredible Bongo Band

The Return Of The Incredible Bongo Band by The Incredible Bongo Band is the follow-up their 1973 classic, Bongo Rock. Bongo Rock was plundered by rappers and producers for samples helping to build the foundation of hip-hop and many other facets of popular music. The Return Of The Incredible Bongo Band has also had it’s best bits harvested by the likes of Bentley Rhythm Ace, Fatboy Slim and Macy Gray. This percussion-heavy groove ride features the skin-smacking talents of Jim Gordon and the perfect percussive prowess of King Errisson.