Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Joe Mensah - "The Afrikan Hustle"

Here we have a classic album from "Bosueman" Joe Mensah. Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, "The Afrikan Hustle" features Mensah's hit tune "Bonsue." This 17-minute long track incorporates elements of jazz, dance-band, and funk, all built over a Yaa Amponsah riff. I love this song for Mensah's rhythmically spoken outbursts (Bo Bo Bo Bo Bonsue!), but also for its unique opening. Here, each instrument enters one after the other, creating the effect of layers being built upon each other (a process which lasts for over two and a half minutes).

The other three songs on side two of this album are just as good, no surprise considering that Mensah is backed by none other than the Sweet Talks! Smark Nkansah & A.B. Crentsil appear here as guitarists, while providing backup vocals throughout the album. Who knew!

Joe Mensah - Rokpokpo

Here, we also have a rendition of "Bonsue" performed live by Ebo Taylor and Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, via Youtube. I think Ambolley is perfectly suited for this song, with his own interpretation of the tune's signature spoken sections (Bo Bo Bonsueee!).  This performance looks like it was a blast, and its a shame that this video ends prematurely as the group is about to launch into "Yaa Amponsah." Enjoy!


                        "The Afrikan Hustle"


  1. Such a wondefully enjoyable album, I can't believe the "comments" section isn't already all full. I guess many people still haven't found your blog - no other explanation I can think of. Remember me when everyone is all over you :). Thanks so much once again!!

  2. I love this record and featured the amazing Bonsou on my radio show last week. Just phenomenal. Thank you so much! It would only be better at a slightly higher sampling rate, as I wrote to you in email, but I can't complain too much!!

  3. Excellent album indeed. In addition to the Sweet Talks folks, members of Fela's band moonlight on this album as well. There are some amazingly imaginative soloing on Bonsue. Thanks for the post!

  4. merci!!!! Voici bientot 30 ans que je n'avais plus ecouté cet album!! je l'aimais tant, un vrai chef d'oeuvre!! Mais ou donc est Joe ??

    Walt Strauss

  5. Chin on the floor!

    And yes, I guess I just found the blog?

    And... THANK YOU!

  6. Hi Osibisaba,
    Thanks for your post of Joe Mensah's Bosue. What a wonderful classic.

    Please kindly tell me what LP (CD) your featured single "Rokpokpo" appeared on and with what band, if any.

    Thanks in advance.