We recently had a shipment of releases from the UK based label Soundway, so we felt it would be a good opportunity to do a bit of a label overview. Below is a bit of info about the label as well as a selection of the label's releases. If there is specific releases you are after please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
About Soundway Records:
From the highlife, disco and rock sounds of 70s Nigeria to the golden age of Panamanian music, Benin’s Afro-Latin grooves, Colombia’s champeta and all other forms of tropical and Afro sounds imaginable. Soundway’s mission is to present the very best in obscure a-sides, b-sides and album cuts that have remained unavailable… until now.
“Ten years ago, while taking a break from his telesales job and traveling through Ghana, Miles Cleret heard a local DJ spinning some obscure African funk, soul and blues records. After having his mind blown by the tracks, which were in danger of fading into obscurity and never reaching ears further afield, he decided to start Soundway Records and release rare world music compilations. After a handful of trips to Ghana, Miles had enough material for his first compilation.. When it notched up 5,000 sales he decided to release a second collection and Soundway has since put out over 25 records ranging from scratchy calypso and cumbia from Panama through to psychedelic Afrobeat from Nigeria.” DAZED AND CONFUSED
King Kennytone, trumpeter and stalwart of the Nigerian Highlife scene of the 50s and 60s was the foremost purveyor of African twist in the early 60s. Following the massive dance craze of The Twist in the US and UK in 1961/2, Kennytone recorded his African Twist numbers at the same time in both English and Igbo. As with later imported styles such as soul and funk many broadcasters and journalists of the day criticised him for being concentrating on music that wasn’t African in origin but his records were huge hits and endure to this day (especially with the recent resurgence in late ’50s and early ’60s black Rock n’ Roll and R&B).
Soundway remain in Colombia for the follow up to Cartagena! Curro Fuentes & The Big Band Cumbia & Descarga Sound of Colombia 1962 – 72, with a collection of pure Colombian dancefloor thunder; 16 tracks of the finest guaguancós, descargas and cumbias recorded by legendary bandleader Michi Sarmiento y su Bravos, and released on the infamous Discos Fuentes label between 1967 and 1977.
Thailand means different things to different people. Beyond the beaches and tourist spots lies a world of music still waiting to be discovered. Be it spaced out jazz, raw funk or the meditative sounds of the North East, Soundway has dug deep into the country’s vinyl archives to present a broad range of vintage sounds that underlines Thailand’s status as one of South East Asia’s musical hot spots.
Nigeria 1970. Highlife, Afro-beat, Rock, Jazz & Native Blues rub shoulders and are turned out at an unprecedented level. New styles meet old styles. Newfound national confidence follows the near break-up of the nation following the Biafran war. New fashions meet old fashions, creating new fusions. Soundway present 26 original and previously un-reissued tracks from the time in a lavish double CD package, complete with 36 page booklet featuring extensive liner notes, rare photos and cover art.
Soundway steps back into Africa with thirty-three original and previously un-reissued tracks from Ghana delivering a follow on of sorts from the hugely successful CD/LP Nigeria Special.
Ghana Special represents nearly ten years of on-going research in and around the cities of Accra, Tema, Cape Coast, Takoradi and Kumasi, knocking on musicianâ€™s doors and visiting ex-distributors, DJs, collectors, manufacturers and shop owners who helped piece the story together.
The roots of this project goes back to a pair of albums named Ghana Soundz (Volumes 1 and 2), which focussed solely on the â€˜funkierâ€™ side of the same period. Alongside new artists and groups, some other works of the many musicians and producers Cleret met whilst researching those records are also included here. Many of these tracks have remained only in peopleâ€™s memories or in collections of LPs that sit unplayed: until now of course.
Ghana Special comes as a double CD hardback case-bound book and 5LP vinyl box set. The CD features 44 pages of history, photographs and original record scans.
Check the track list below along with sound clips: