Nana Love ‘Disco Documentary’ LP/CD/Dig (BBE) 4/5

nana-loveAfro-disco is not an especially well known fusion, but with the current quest for unearthing dancefloor gems from the past, BBE have come up with a real winner in Nana Love. The album was actually recorded in London in the late 1970s with co-engineer Denis Bovell present. However, this has all the feel of an authentic stab at heavyweight disco from a Nigerian perspective and the absence of any strings whatsoever lends a directness to the music which merely adds to its unique charm. The original tapes were uncovered and, in the process of restoring these, unreleased material henceforth became available. No less than three extended dancefloor gems predominate here and the opener ‘I’m in love’ with its heavy bass line and lengthy instrumental breaks should have been a disco anthem had it have been more widely promoted at the time. Nana Love’s girlish vocals make for an interesting contrast with the instrumentation. Afro-Beat horns and a skin tight rhythm section feature on ‘Talking about music’ where Nana offers a spoken dialogue and the melody builds in intensity. The Chic-esque rhythm guitar is the first hint of external influences on ‘Hang on baby’ which is another meaty tome at nearly nine minutes in length while for a little variety the dance mix version of ‘Loving feeling’ has more of a classic Motown intro, but then reverts to classy disco. Only ‘Disco Lover’ sounds a trifle dated while Bovell’s influence comes through subtly on the reggae flavoured keyboards allied to a funky bass on ‘We’re gonna stay for the party’ which is fundamentally still a funky ditty. This is in fact the third instalment from BBE of their ‘Master we love’ series’ and if the quality remains this high, then the next instalment will be eagerly anticipated.

Tim Stenhouse