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ARTIST
TITLE
Best Woman
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
AADE 005LP AADE 005LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
5/5/2017

Analog Africa present a reissue of Best Woman, Vincent Ahehehinnou's first post-Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou album, originally released in 1978. In early 1978, Ahehehinnou left the Poly-Rythmo without explanation. He had been one of their principal vocalist since 1968 and had helped transform them from a hard-charging nightclub band into a musical powerhouse and Africa-wide sensation. On a business trip to Nigeria, Vincent met with Ignace de Souza of Benin's Black Santiago band, who agreed to arrange Vincent's songs, assemble musicians, and book a session at the legendary Decca Studios in Lagos. With everything in place Vincent returned to Cotonou, gathered together all the money he had saved over the years and set out again for Lagos. The nine-piece band, handpicked by de Souza, learned the songs and set them to tape in the span of only a week ... but the results are as timeless and essential as anything to emerge from West Africa in the late 1970s. Vincent's Afrobeat credentials are in full evidence on opening track "Best Woman" (English) whose driving beat, focused horns, and intricate vocal melody recall the raucous intensity of Poly-Rythmo. But the deep funk of the title track turns out to be only a warm-up for album-highlight "Maimouna Cherie" (French), a moving expression of love and longing which kicks off with a hi-hat and wah-wah guitar workout, but shifts gears mid-way into a more concentrated and contemplative groove. The funk and Afrobeat gems on Best Woman are balanced by songs that draw upon Sato, one of the many Vodoun rhythms of Vincent's native Benin. Side one concludes with "Vi Deka" (Mina), an epic slow-burner propelled by some of the record's most soulful vocals, while album closer "Wa Do Verite Ton Noumi" (Fon) all but dares you not to lose yourself in its sublime hypnotic trance. Best Woman was released on Nigeria's Hasbunalau Records in 1978, and original pressings are now highly-prized collector's items. Reissued on Analog Africa's Dance Edition imprint -- newly mastered by Nick Robbins, cut by to vinyl by Frank Merritt at the Carvery, and approved by Vincent himself. 180 gram vinyl; Gatefold sleeve with liner notes and pictures; 30x60 inlay/poster.