Lost links & Re-ups

On any post, if the link is no longer good, leave a comment if you want the music re-uploaded. As long as I still have the file, or the record, cd, or cassette to re-rip, I will gladly accommodate in a timely manner all such requests.

Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

19 May 2013


 Ganja, palm wine, & high life. I'm gonna dig my time in Nigeria.

Orlando Owoh is a highlife singer, composer, & guitarist. He was born in the early 1940s in Owo, Oyo State, Nigeria. His music career started when Owoh was young. He began playing the bongos with The Fakunle Major Band in 1960. He moved to Lagos & learned guitar from Fatai Rolling Dollar. After spending three years fighting in Nigeria's civil war, Owoh returned to Lagos, picked up his music career & formed his own group, the Omimah Band. He recorded his first record in the mid 60s. About this time he decided to play highlife style. He started a new band called the Young Kenneries. Considered to be one of the best bands in Nigeria, Owoh & his new band recorded more than 40 LPs. They gained international recognition. For more than four decades, until shortly before his death in 2008, Owoh's ganja-relaxed voice was a mainstay of popular culture.

Dr. Ganja’s Polytonality Blues contains four songs from three earlier Owoh albums: sides from his Omimah Band's 1974 albums Ire Lowo & Ajo Ko Dun Bi Ile; & two from Owoh & Young Kenneries Beats International 1981 album Obirin Asiko, reworked in a most innovative manner. To create a polytonality superior to even that of Stravinsky or Charles Ives, Owoh has the two guitars & bass tuned in three different keys. Add to this Owoh’s vocal talents, expert song composition, frenetic percussion, & torqued guitar genius & you have a unique rendition of highlife guitar music with massive juju percussion.

Fans of Owoh’s rugged street-style music dubbed his style ‘toye’, which is Yaruba slang for marijuana. Owoh has been called ‘King of Toye’ & ‘Dr. Ganja’.

This release contains four medleys, four psychedelic suites/jams.

 OrlandoOwoh - Dr. Ganja's Polytonality Blues, Original Music OMCD 035, 1995. 
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Tracklist -
Suite 1 - Logba Logba/Edumare Da Mi Lihun/E Se Rere/Prof Oyewole
Suite 2 - Emi Wa Wa Lowo Re/Alun Gbere Wa De
Suite 3 - Easter Special/Baba Wa Silekin/Obinrin Asiko Lagbo
Suite 4 - Cain Ati Abel/Alhaji T'Oyo Mayan/Omi l'Eman


Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe is one of the few bandleaders from the 1960s Golden Age of Nigerian dance band highlife active on the music scene until his death at age 71 on May 11th, 2007. He was born in March 1936 in Atani, near the Igbo trading city of Onitsha, Nigeria. Osadebe's musical apprenticeship began with E.C. Arinze's Empire Rhythm Orchestra in the 1950s. He recorded his first record, Adamma, in 1958 while still with Stephen Ameche's band. His next recording was Lagos Life Na So So Enjoyment with trumpeter Zeal Onyiya's band in 1959. Over the years he recorded countless 45s, EPs & LPs, many on the Philips & Polydor Nigerian affiliates of those labels.

He is ‘Chief’ among the Nigerian highlife musicians. Osadebe sings, plays piano, & composes most of his songs.

Sposa 010, 1987.
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Side One – People’s Club of Nigeria (part one)

Side Two – People’s Club of Nigeria (part two)

Here are two great releases by Osadebe, often overlooked in his discography, because they are cleverly disguised as the work of the 'People Star in London'. These were recorded in 1973 at a time when members of Osadebe’s orchestra left to form Ikenga Super Stars. It was probably released under this alternate name (Osadebe was the Nigerian People Star) due to a licensing or copyright dispute, or possibly because these records are  pirate recordings. Whatever the reasons behind all this, these are probably some of Osadebe’s finest material. They contain stellar jams in Osadebe's trademark style merging highlife, juju, funky elements, psych, & more.

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Side 1 –
Ije Awele
Onwu Dinjo

Side 2 –
Onye Lusia Olie
Van Komesia

 The People Star in London– Festac Explosion 77 Vol. 2, Chiemeka Records VOLP 0077, 1977. 
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Side A –
Mbaukwu Boys Special

Side B –
Ogomu Egbunam
Ngozy Ka
Meringue Alto


Ambrose Campbell was born Oladipupo Adekoya Campbell in Lagos, Nigeria on August 19, 1919. He was the son of a church minister. He started out by singing in the church choir. In his teens, Campbell worked as a printer in central Lagos. He found excitement at night by sneaking out to where palm-wine was sold: stalls under the moonlight where seamen & servants gathered to sing & play music, to drink the sweet, cloudy beverage. Coming from places as far away as Liberia, Guinee, & Cameroun, these men carried with them diverse cultural traditions. They also brought Western ideas picked up on their travels. Influences were exchanged & combined as they played. When he was old enough, Campbell joined them, singing & playing a tambourine.

Campbell left Nigeria & moved to Liverpool in the midst of World War II in the early 1940s. He subsequently moved to London where he assembled a band, the West African Rhythm Brothers, Britain’s first-ever black band. Campbell sang & played percussion & gradually learned the guitar (under the tutelage of Lauderic Canton from Trinidad). He teamed up with bongo-player Ade Bashorun from Lagos, guitarist Brewster Hughes, from Ibadan in Western Nigeria, trumpeter Harry Beckett & reed player Willy Roachford from Barbados, & pianist Adam Fiberesima, an Ijo from the Niger delta of Nigeria. The group made its first public appearance in London at the May 1945 celebrations in honor of VE Day. They performed in Trafalgar Square & Piccadilly Circus as their fellow Londoners celebrated the Nazis’ defeat.

In 1946 the West African Rhythm Brothers toured the U.K. in support of Les Ballets Nègres, Britain’s first black ballet company. Campbell & his band played in the jazz venues of London’s West End, including a club called Abalabi on Berwick Street in Soho, which was owned by a fellow Nigerian, Ola Dosunmu. Ola Dosunmu & his English wife later opened another club on Wardour Street called Club Afrique. Ambrose & the Rhythm Brothers performed there too.

Ambrose was a celebrated figure in bohemian Soho. His friends & contemporaries included British jazz greats Ronnie Scott & Johnny Dankworth. Campbell moved to America in 1972 where he continued to be involved in music. He performed on Willie Nelson’s One for the Road. He received a gold disc for his recording. Campbell returned to the UK in 2004. He settled in Plymouth. He died on June 22, 2006 at the age of 86.

Sadly enough, He never received any credit or payment for his work with the West African Rhythm Brothers. He commented on this during one of his rare interviews. All  he could say was that he felt elated that so many had been privy to his musical ingenuity. He had no regrets about how millions had been milked away from his hard work. He believed music was for sharing, not for selling.

Honest Jon’s Records HJRLP21, 2006.
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Side A -
West African Rhythm Brothers - We have It in Africa
West African Rhythm Brothers - Oba Adele  
Nigerian Union Rhytm Group - The Wind in a Frolic
West African Rythm Brothers - Iku Koni Payin
Ayinda Bakare And His Meranda Orchestra - Ibikunle Alakija

Side B -
West African Rhythm Brothers - Omo Laso
West African Rhythm Brothers - Calabar-O
West African Rhythm Brothers - Emi Wa Wa Lowo Re
West African Rhythm Brothers - Iwa D'Arekere
West African Rhythm Brothers - Ominira

Side C -
Nigerian Union Rhytm Group - The Memorial of Chief J.K. Randle
West African Rhythm Brothers - Mofi Ajobi Seyin
Nigerian Union Rhytm Group - Unity
Nigerian Union Rhytm Group - Oratido Soso
West African Rhythm Brothers - Ayami  
West African Rhythm Brothers - Oba Ademora II

Side D -
West African Rhythm Stars - Late Ojo Davies
West African Rhythm Stars - Geneva Conference
West African Rhythm Brothers - Ele Da Awa
West African Rhythm Brothers - Aye Wa Adara
West African Rhythm Brothers - Lagos Mambo
West African Rhythm Brothers - Odudua
West African Rhythm Brothers - I Am a Stranger




  1. Dr. Ganja
    People's Club
    Festac Explosion
    Festac Explosion 77
    London is the Place for Me 3

  2. I am thankful that you are researching your posts instead of posting the usual performers like King Sunny Ade, Fela, Baaba Maal and Youssou N'Dour. Anyone interested in African music has heard those and would not learn anything new. I am also happy that you expanded the downloads for countries like Nigeria that have many albums available. I look forward to the next few weeks because I have never heard any music from the middle part of Africa.

    1. Again Andrew

      Thanks for the insightful comment.

      I just feel that there is so much out here aside from the over-exposed & over-hyped. This has been a huge learning experience for me & I feel like passing on a bit of what I have learned. Africa is quite the challenge. The artificial boundaries of countries many times have little to do with the actual ethnic groups that live in Africa. Many times the borders of two countries separate into two nationalities people who are of the same lineage & ethnicity. A great example is with the Tuareg nomads who have had major issues with Mali & Niger, living in both or in Libya, or wherever their wanderings take them. One of my favorite groups of the Tuareg Guitar Revolution is Tinariwen. However, most everyone who listens to music this century at least should surely be familiar with them. I therefore will try to share some other groups with the same goals of freedom but with slightly less exposure.

      Each area seems to have their particular kinds of musical styles, palm wine & highlife being the latest, but soukous, Afrobeat, agbadza, desert blues, Afropop...on & on. I am trying to touch on as many of the regional genres as possible, though I know I am shamefully missing many & intentionally slighting some (I believe I have stated before my less than favorable opinion about metal & rap). If one country seems to have many styles or a great depth of one particular style, then those get more attention. When I began this, I was intending on one download per country, but as I began, I realized more & more that it was not really possible. (Or perhaps I have become even more overindulgent than usual.)

      The biggest problem as always with music blogs is...what will disturb the Sheriff of DMCA? I have tried to tip-toe lightly, but I have no real sense of what the likes of Sublime Frequencies or even more corporate entities (like iTunes or Amazon, for example) might have in store.

      For the middle part of Africa I believe we will be hearing more & more traditional ethnic music, but it is impossible to escape the influence of colonialist Europe & the New World.

    2. I have heard some of the Sublime Frequencies albums from the Middle East and Asia and I do not like them. The sound is often fuzzy and they cut to another track in the middle of a song. Maybe it was just the rips that I had, but many tracks did not have a performer listed.

      Sometimes they may be the only thing available for a country and it will be unavoidable to use them. But you have been doing an excellent job digging up albums from very tiny countries so far and I think your search abilities will become better as you go along. There are blogs out there for everything but some are very hard to find.

  3. The People Star in London record is fantastic! Thanks for posting this, I was searching and could not find it.