Sunday, November 27, 2011

Next Stop Soweto

With hipsterdom's new found love for world music it was only a matter of time before a zillion compilations were issued that featured some obscure world music form that no one's ever heard of except some dude in Vampire Weekend. The problem with that is about 95 percent of those compilations are absolute garbage and so few of the remaining five percent stand out it's almost disheartening. There are those compilations, however, that will reaffirm your belief in such things and Strut's recent two disc anthology, Next Stop Soweto is a shining example of how to do things right when it comes to the burgeoning afro-beat reissue market.

Like many of Strut's essential reissues, the label spares no expense at digging through the crates, looking under rocks, travelling around the globe, and researching everything to find the absolute best tunes that no one has ever heard of. They do an incredible job on Next Stop Soweto by unearthing so many rare and unheard of gems, record collectors might just have a heart attack. This is an absolutely corker of a set with forty two rarities of soul, funk, and organ grooves that are as fresh and original as the day they were recorded. While some of the recording techniques might be suspect and the recording quality pales in comparison by today's standards, so much of the material here is robust, exciting, and proves time after time that music truly is a universal language that knows no barriers.

Next Stop Soweto is packed with grooves and hooks that cross language barriers and cultures and are deeply thrilling from the jangly guitar work outs of "Soul Charkari," to the the laid back jazzy feel of, "Happy Africa." This is simply magical stuff and there's not one single track here that isn't worth it's weight in gold. Funky, jazzy, soulful, poppy it's all hear and after listening to Next Stop Soweto a few times you'll see where so much of today's world music influenced indie comes from; heck you'll be able to spot the bands a mile away. Next Stop Soweto is absolutely essential stuff that's the sound of a young Africa discovering the joys of sweet soul thanks to Strut you to can discover those joys as well.

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