El Rego, 'El Rego' (Daptone)

8
El Rego
Critical Mass
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Label: Daptone

by Richard Gehr

First heard by many on Analog Africa's 2008 compilation African Scream Contest, Benin's Theophile Do Rego looms large among the lost giants of West African funk. Formed in 1966, El Rego and his Commandos created the template others would exploit more successfully: a wildly inspired blend of tribal rhythms, wah-wah guitar, fatback bass lines, and the heated unnnhs and yeeowws that typify James Brown funk. So "Feeling You Got" sounds like a rougher, rawer version of Archie Bell on this collection of 45s (but dig that crazy accordion!). "Vive Le Renouveau" advocates revolution (ironically) via funereal desert blues. And "Cholera" treats a deadly disease with funky cold sweat.

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