I know what you're thinking: compilations of obscure African funk, psychedelic, and beyond are a dime a dozen these days. Let me tell you, though, it's a testament to the quality of music on offer in Afrobeat Airways 2 that, despite the proliferation of similar compilations, this one more than holds its own.
The Afrobeat Airways series got its start when Samy Ben Redjeb checked his passport in his luggage and ended up stranded in Ethiopia and ended up on an unplanned holiday in Ghana for some weeks while he got matters sorted out. In Ghana he unearthed a treasure trove of lost vintage rarities thanks to a chance meeting with producer Dick Essilfie-Bonzie of the Essiebons label His finds resulted in a superb compilation accompanied by a comprehensive booklet of liner notes and photographs. He duplicates that strategy here; Volume 2 features a 44-page booklet with an essay by Banning Eyre on the development of African music in 60s/70s Ghana. Booklet notwithstanding, its the music thats the meat and drink for this reviewer though, and this collection is comprised of 13 solid tracks. Superb funk drums, wah wah guitar workouts, organ stabs and relentless bass lines are everywhere. Horn sections and solos abound. Vocals smoulder and erupt into flames throughout. Afrobeat addicts will be all over this one. And for the uninitiated, this is as good a place to start as any: if you want to get a taste of funk beyond James Brown or Africa beyond the Fela Kutis and Kinng Sunny Ades, this is an excellent entry point into the continent recording history, a history that is in the process of being very actively rediscovered by labels such as Analog Africa. Good stuff.