Release Date: Oct 25, 2011
Record label: Daptone
Genre(s): R&B, International
Hinted at by groundbreaking compilations like the mammoth Ethiopiques series, the previously obscure African music landscape has yielded a huge quantity of exotic genres in recent years, from Nigerian highlife to Kenyan benga, with American sounds filtered through traditional instrumentation and melodies. One of these finds is the Beninese funk scene, represented by artists like Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou and El Rego, a singer/bandleader active in the ‘60s and ‘70s, whose previously scarce material Daptone has collected in a 12-track greatest-hits package. It’s a fantastic collection, showcasing a sound that utilizes some familiar elements (call-and-response singing, saxophones, squiggly electric organs) and some less familiar for this type of music (accordion, scat singing).
El Rego et Ses Commandos “Yee-ow!” barks Theophile Do Rego, the African soul singer known as El Rego, at the start of “Djobime,” recorded during his heyday in Benin, from the mid-1960s to the early ’70s. It’s one of a handful of James Brown signifiers on “El Rego et Ses Commandos” (Daptone), assembled from a collection of his old 45-r.p.m. singles.