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Monday
May182009

VA - Marvellous Boy: Calypso From West Africa

Remember that whole Blur vs. Oasis snafu and its London art-schoolers vs. Manchester lads battle for British supremacy? Oasis may have borrowed most blatantly from the Beatles catalogue, but it's always been clear that Blur best understood the Fab Four's spirit of innovation and exploration. So while Liam Gallagher launches his attack on skinny jeans with mundane new clothing line Pretty Green, Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn's Honest Jon's label has slowly but surely been archiving all manner of exceptional unheard music from around the world. Calypso has been a big part of the label's identity from the start, and Marvellous Boy fits right in. Detailing a vibrant movement in West Africa in the '50s and '60s when African ex-pats were returning to home soil from the Caribbean, this collection is sunny and effortlessly enjoyable, but it also carries a historical punch courtesy of the label's typically thorough and well-written liner notes, as well as tracks like "Dick Tiger's Victory", which chronicles the Nigerian middleweight boxer's success in America. The range of genres within is impressive, from swing and highlife to Afro-Cuban jazz and military bands, and it's no shock that Marvellous Boy is a winner from start to finish. Patio music of the highest order.

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