Following his recent studio album with Afrobeat Academy, ’Love And Death’, his first international release, Ghanaian highlife guitar legend Ebo Taylor teams up again with Strut for a long overdue definitive compilation of his seminal 1970s recordings, ‘Life Stories’.
During Ghana’s highlife explosion during the 1950s and ‘60s following wartime highlife pioneers like E.T. Mensah, Ebo Taylor made his name as a prolific composer, arranger and frontman leading two of Ghana’s greatest big bands - Stargazers and Broadway Dance Band. Moving to London to study music in 1962 alongside West African luminaries like Fela Kuti and Peter King, Taylor formed the Black Star Highlife Band and began incorporating jazz elements into traditional highlife forms.
Returning to Ghana, Taylor became an in-house arranger and producer for Dick Essilfie-Bondzie’s Essiebons label, working with other major Ghanaian stars like C.K. Mann and Pat Thomas. Through the ’70s, he then recorded a number of solo projects, exploring unique fusions and borrowing elements from regional Ghanaian folk music, Afrobeat, jazz, soul and funk.
This compilation revisits this heyday of Taylor’s work, focusing on his solo albums and some of his lesser known side projects including the dynamite Apagya Show Band and short-lived Taylor-led combos Assase Ase, Super Sounds Namba and The Pelikans. The selection also touches on his writing and production work for C.K. Mann and a collaboration recording with fellow member of early ‘70s nightclub band Blue Monks, Pat Thomas.
Tracks include the anthemic ’Heaven’, sampled by Usher on his hit with Ludacris, ’She Don’t Know’, the original version of the poignant ’Love And Death’ and the rare 15-minute nugget, ’Aba Yaa’. The package features rare photos, original album artwork and sleeve notes by Soundway Records’ Miles Cleret.
1. Heaven - 6:04
2. Atwer Abroba - 8:14
3. Victory (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 4:20
4. Ohiani Sua Efir (Traditional) (with Assase Ase) - 4:02
5. Kwaku Ananse (with The Apagya Show Band) - 3:11
6. Peace On Earth - 7:45
7. Aba Yaa - 14:59
8. Ene Nyame Nam 'a' Mensuro (feat. Pat Taylor, Pat Thomas) - 6:16
1. Tamfo Nyi Ekyir (with The Apagya Show Band) - 3:57
2. Love and Death (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 8:19
3. Ohye Atar Gyan - 6:07
4. Yes Indeed (with Super Sounds Namba) - 4:56
5. Mumude (The Apagya Show Band) - 3:04
6. What is Life (feat. Uhuru-Yenzu) - 4:38
7. Etuei (with C.K. Mann) - 6:28
8. Egya Edu (feat. Pelikans) - 6:51
All compositions by Ebo Taylor except where indicated.
*Ebo Taylor - Guitars, Vocals