Locomotive Train

21/03/2024BBE Reissues Remastered Early 1970s Album By The African Brothers Band International Of Ghana

Sitting on a train from Bruges to Bruxelles, we felt it might me a good moment to share this recent highlife reissue on BBE with you. Remastered and re-released digitally earlier this month on Ghanaian Independence Day, this early 1970s album by the African Brothers Band International of Ghana is an absolute gem and thoroughly engaging from start to finish. Blending classic highlife with elements of rock, funk and reggae, "Locomotive Train (Keteke) - Meko Tarkwa! Meko Tarkwa!! Meko Tarkwa!!!" remains in perpetuous motion for 40-something minutes.

According to the release notes, and to provide some context, this outfit was originally formed in 1963 as The African Brothers, but saw a steady "rotation of personnel and several variations on the band name with many of their 56 albums only released in Ghana and, in some cases, only ever on cassette." This release in particular originally came out on the Happy Sun imprint (a Nyarko Records sublabel) and features the "classic" line-up of "bandleader Nana Kwame Ampadu arranging, composing and producing all tracks with a five guitar front line backed by the legendary Baba Tunde on drums alongside the organ, bass and three percussionists."

From track one through five, the group keeps the party going, seamlessly shifting gears to present a wide array of moods and timbres as well as continuous narration, mc'ing or toasting. The consistent chatter and sing-song on each track becomes one with the rest of the instrumentation to form a train of sound bound to sweep listeners off their feet and take them places – you get the gist. With highlife as its essence, the feel of "Locomotive Train (Keteke) - Meko Tarkwa! Meko Tarkwa!! Meko Tarkwa!!!" is upbeat and celebratory, though never overbearing, taking on a slower pace at times, though never lugubrious or overly nostalgic. We trust you too will enjoy the ride. Choo-choo!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom