2019 repress. Soundway present a reissue of Rob’s second album for the first-time outside Ghana, originally released in 1978. Rob was an enigmatic recording artist from Ghana who cut two albums for the legendary Essiebons label in 1977. Neither of these were big domestic hits at the time and have since become prized amongst collectors in recent years. The title track from this LP was always one of the most popular on the first Soundway release Ghana Soundz (SNDW 001LP, 2008) and over the years the label has been asked many times to reissue the LP in its entirety. A stranger, slower offering than his more dancefloor funk-laden and Spartan first LP, this record sees Rob in similar territory but with the tempo switched down and the introspection turned up. Rob’s trademark horns dominate and are supplied by the Mag-2, an army band founded by leader Amponsah Rockson, who named it after the army unit the band played for the “magnificent” second battalion. In 1977, Rob traveled to the coastal town of Takoradi in search of Mag-2, which had an entire section of its line-up dedicated to horns, with the intension of laying out his proposal to them. Luckily for Rob, the band took him up on it. With religious overtones and a broody, slightly off-key atmosphere at points it’s certainly one of the stranger Afro-funk records to come out of West Africa but with tracks like “Loose Up Yourself” and “Make it Fast, Make it Slow” — it’s a unique gem that warrants repeat listening.
After many years the long lost Apocalyptic Disco Funk offering has been unearthed and re-released for the world to hear. Rob’s prophetic pre-apocalypse disco message, Hellfire, was originally released as a promotional LP by Nigerian label Taretone. Though a seminal work by Rob, disco stylings had fallen from vogue on the Nigerian dance floors. With the local airwaves dominated by artists like Félix Lebarty, Rob’s promotional release was shelved, and never got to see a full-scale commercial issue. Ultimately the master tapes were lost by Taretone and the album was doomed to obscurity for decades until its recent rediscovery by Tambourine Party Records.
Hellfire is both a disco burner and a frantic warning about the impending end of the world. From the downtempo title track Hellfire to the floor-filling Glory be to Jesus, Rob will be sure to get his message across. Once the needle is dropped it is hard to deny that even if the world is coming to and end you can die happy listening to this album.