Continuing the series of singles, I have dug up three records by Docteur Nico and his African Fiesta Sukisa.
The choice is, however, not coincidental. It is partially motivated by the release of a booklet containing a discography of Docteur Nico. The author is Alastair Johnston, of http://www.muzikifan.com/ fame. And that also happens to be the place where you can order this monograph.
And for those critical or sceptical readers: I have no ties to muzikifan, and do not profit from the sale of this release. I have yet to read the book, so I can't even judge its contents. But going by the standard set by the muzikifan website, I think it is safe to assume that it will be at least interesting, well written and knowledgeable. Add the fact that very little has been written about Nico and his music and ... I leave you to decide.
And now for the music of this post.
The first of the three singles contains two compositions by two singers: Mizele Paul, also nicknamed Paulins, and Diongas Dominique, a.k.a. Apotre, who in the earlier part of the 1960s was known as a specialist of the cha-cha-cha. These tracks were originally released as Sukisa 89 (and re-released here on the African label in the Surboum Africaine series), and were followed by tracks like Nico's "Olga" (Sukisa 90, - available on Sonodisc CD 36516).
The second single (originally Sukisa 105) is on the Decca Congo label. Both sides are composed by Nico himself. The A-side is "Asala Malekoun" (!), which has been re-issued a few times, both on lp and CD. And the B-side, "Mbanda Peugeot", may be a reference Nico's skills as a mechanic and has a wonderful languid, and unusual, rhythm, with Nico occasionaly dashing out dots of cream on the cake.
The last of these three records (Sukisa 119), and my favourite, features singer Franc Lassan. And that's another Congolese artist who deserves to have a book written about him. I will try and gather some more information about him and will certainly dedicated a future post to his earlier work.
"Bolongo", the A-side, is a mid-tempo "Madre-Rumba" (and don't ask me what this means). The B-side, "Adios", is vocally even more interesting than the A-side, with some intricate vocal combinations, that seem to have served as an inspiration for artists like the late Ntesa Dalienst (who vocally has more resemblances to Lassan). Please note too the interaction between rhythm and Nico's lead guitar.
As far as I know these last two tracks have never been released on lp or CD.
Sukisa 89, 105 and 119 (combined) (new link Jan. 31, 2012)