Welcome to the LAGOS DISCO INFERNO, the first compilation of rare, Nigerian Disco to be released outside of Africa. Brought to you by ACADEMY LPs who also released the the Ofege and Mebusas albums.
Compiled by Frank Gossner of Voodoofunk.com, this record contains 12 tracks that represent the sound of Lagos in the late 1970s. Digipack!
Dean Disi (Music Journalist and formerly Director of Lagos based label TYC Records) wrote the liner notes for this album:
"It was the era of sheer ecstasy. The music not only represents the vibrancy of youthful expressionism of the time but is also deeply rooted in African rhythm though not traditional in phraseology... This collection of songs marks the development of Nigerian urban pop culture... There was diametric difference in the music of the discos and the music play by the groups. Disco music as played by the DJs was essentially western. The fans could connect with this easily. It was hip, urban and stimulating. The young Nigerian groups were hooked on it and tried to play it but with a distinctive African stamp of their own."
Some of the artists on this record were stars of their times while others remained in obscurity.
TIROGO and BLO had originally started out in the early 1970s as guitar based Rock groups. The debut albums of both bands are holy grails of the international Psych Rock collector scene. Like many other bands, they eventually ventured into Funk and Disco because the demand of the club scene and retail market. This also explains how the Nigerian brand of Disco has so much more energy, a more urgent and sometimes rebellious feel and a rougher sound than the slick and overproduced sounds of the Western world.
Geraldo Pino was a key figure in the Nigerian music scene. Originally from Sierra Leone, he had spent time in Ghana during the late 1960s and came to Lagos in the early 1970s with a unique brand of Funky African Soul that immediately set the city on fire. Even Fela Kuti credits Geraldo Pino for having been a major influence for himself as well as for the entire scene. Geraldo Pino is featured here with his 1978 dance-floor bomb "African Hustle".
Christy Essien was a Nigerian superstar who put out a string of successful records all through the 1970s. Others, for example Nana Love despite their best efforts never even reached any local fame. After listening to this record though, you will agree with us that all of these artists rightfully deserve our attention for elevating the Disco genre to new spiritual and musical heights.
And here is what makes Nigerian Disco so special:
Lagos by the 1970s was a huge metropolitan city. Due to the oil boom, there was money to be made with music and nightlife and big international record labels like EMI, Decca and Philips had set up their recording studios that for a big part got equipped with vintage hardware handed down from their European franchises. So as the sound of the late 70s and early 80s in Europe and in the US got more and more modern and from todays point of view just plain shitty, overloaded with ugly sounding Roland keyboards, the sound of Lagos was dominated by powerful horn sections, heavy drums and percussion instruments. There's plenty of early Moog synthesizers but no synth-generated strings or fake horns.
EMI's house producer Emmanuel Odenusi had worked with Fela for many years, defining the sound of Afrobeat. Kayode Salami who produced another couple of tracks on this album also was responsible for the incredible sound of the famous debut LP by Psych-Rock group Ofege.
Lagos, a uniquely vibrant, gritty, energetic and sometimes quite dangerous tropical metropolis has always been much more than just a city. A state of mind where third world poverty met the oil boom, where African traditions clashed with Western decadence.