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Boomkat Product Review:
The evergreen compilations return with twenty mento, calypso, jazz & highlife aces from fifties & sixties young Black London. Stars of the series such as Mighty Terror, Ambrose Campbell's West African Rhythm Brothers, Lord Kitchener and Buddy Pipp reliably turn up tried and tested highlights alongside lesser known but no less brilliant bits also taken from HMV's GV label, an imprint intended for export to younger record buyers in Africa. Espousing observations of a London in flux - from rival footbal factions to martial artist girlfriends and much bawdier humour - from the perspective of first generation Windrush travellers like Trini's legendary Lord Beginner (with the wicked Joe Louis Calypso), or Jamaica's Tony Johnson with the early mento (a forerunner to ska and reggae) of 'Me Donkey Want Water', it beautifully frames the city's sound as a melting pot of international (Black Atlantic) rhythm and flavour, a confluence of groove and news which would eventually, irrevocably, and wonderfully, transform the UK's musical landscape thanks to its contributions in blues and folk, for example with the Rolling Stones-endorsed rhythms of Nigerian percussionist Folorunso 'Ginger' Johnson, or Eric Hayden who played with the Basil and Ivor Kirchin Band. Thanks to the always dapper art and design from Will Bankhead, and the superb fidelity of the recordings, this record is certifiably fresh for the next 50 years. Highly recommended.