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Soundway Records just unleashed a one-two-three combination reissue bomb onto the masses. First up is MonoMono’s debut LP, Give the Beggar a Chance from 1972. The title track is the lead track on this here mix and, in my opinion, is the strongest of the set. I scored a copy in Nigeria, and out of about 50 LPs I brought home, it probably gets the most play. A lot of Nigerian LPs have a lot of filler with one or two good tracks, but this LP is front to back tasty afro funk rock goodness. Lots of organ and fuzz guitar. It’s funny — I thought someone drew the little red lightning bolts on my copy. Turns out that’s the original design!
Next up is MonoMono’s second LP — Dawn of Awareness. I was lucky enough to find a copy of this a few months ago at the DC record fair and goddamn, it cooks. This one is a little more American blues rock oriented, but is still undeniably an African record at its core. Mine has a different cover (but I think I have the South American pressing?). I assume the reissue art is the Nigerian original, but I could be wrong about that.
Finally, we have Joni Haastrup’s solo offering (he was MonoMono’s band leader), Wake Up Your Mind. This LP, from 1978, is a much slicker, polished disco funk affair. I prefer the gritty MonoMono sound, but check this one out for yourself.
Cop all three, on LP, CD, or digitally, (the two MonoMono LPs come with a bonus 12”) over at Soundway Records.
Also be sure to check out this really good interview with Joni Haastrup on PRI’s The World. Joni talks all about the birth of Afro beat, MonoMono and the Nigerian funk scene. So dope!