Number six in the series but the quality standard shows no sign of dropping just yet
Subtitled 'Mile High Funk 1974-1981', this is the sixth album in the Africa Airways series. As such, most iDJ readers with any interest at all in African music should have a pretty good idea what to expect by now.
But here's the thing… you don't actually need to have any interest in African music, generally, to get into the Africa Airways albums. Because while the various vocalists featured across this latest installment's 10 tracks are all unmistakeably of African origin, and while complex polyrhythms, breathy vocal chants, Fela Kuti-esque trumpets and other African music tropes are all certainly in evidence here and there, this is Afro-funk with the emphasis firmly on the "funk" side of the equation.
Admittedly that's "funk" in the loosest possible sense of the word… various tracks, taken individually, would probably sit more comfortably in the boxes marked "disco" or "soul" (see Vicky Edimo's You or Airto Fogo's Black Soul, respectively). But "funk" will do as an umbrella term for the album as a whole. The important point here is that even if African music on the whole tends to leave you cold, this collection is still worth checking, because if you're looking for lesser-known dancefloor fuel for your funk/disco/soul DJ sets, it's a proper little goldmine.
Or, of course, you could just give the world's 3,749th bootleg of Josephine a spin instead. Your call!
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: Out now
Review Score: 8