BBE Music proudly present a sampler of its major West African label series, Tabansi Gold, giving a taste of the sixty or so titles to be reissued over the next couple of years.
Taking advantage of the growing lack of interest by the major labels in ‘local’ music, Chief Tabansi set up his own imprint in 1952, pressing up records at UAC, and promoting them through villages in ‘music vans’. By the early 70s, he was one of the most successful record business operators in Nigeria. He’d set up Tabansi Records (later renamed Tabansi Music Publishers), in Onitsha, complete with its own studios and pressing plant, and by the 80s, with the help of his son Godwin, he was promoting and developing many of Nigeria’s young musicians and stars, including reggae superstar Majek Fashek, whose 1988 album Send Down The Rain remains one the biggest local-selling African LPs of all time; Felix ‘Lover Boy’ Liberty, whose Ifeoma became a pan-African sensation; and Stella Monye, whose three LPs (two of them on the Tabansi label) established her as an international soul vocalist.
This sampler takes in just a few of the label’s highlights: the best in 70s and 80s West African highlife, afrobeat, funk, soul, boogie, disco, guitar-band bangers, soukous, rumba and major previously-unissued Ebo Taylor afrobeat/highlife masterpiece, and more.
The selection on this sampler is deliberately mixed up. No artful ‘sequencing’, no cod-historical ‘contextualising’. We want you to hear hardcore village highlife and palmwine storytellers interspersed with psych-juju and boogie bangers; classic afrobeat followed by Nigerian soul ballads: we want you to get the picture, to get into the spirit of this beautiful eccentricity that’s Tabansi records!
1. Ebo Taylor – Make You No Mind
2. Zeal Onyia – Zeal Anata
3. Ojo Balingo – Oba Mimo Olorun Ayo
4. The Mandators – Looking out for You
5. Lumingu Puati (Zorro) – Tshina Dekula
6. Dytomite Starlite Band Of Ghana – Amanfoo
7. Eric Kol – You’re My Solution
8. Zack and Geebah – For the Love of Money
9. Tony Sarfo & His Funki Afrosibi – Super Star
10. Ben Jagga – Hold on Pretty Woman
11. Ondigui And Bota Tabansi International – Wonderful for Ashawo
12. Victor Chukwu – Akalaka