"Hessa" El Rego
Song of the Day Thursday, October 20, 2011
El Rego, “Hessa”
Theophile Do Rego formed his band El Rego et Ses Commandos (now simply known as El Rego) in 1966 as post-colonial Benin was exploding with amazing Afrofunk and Afrobeat bands that fused French and American pop music with regional West African sounds. Whereas Nigerian neighbor Fela Kuti’s music skewed toward jazz and James Brown, El Rego embraced rugged psych rock and punchy soul. The new self-titled album on Daptone compiles his best tracks from the late ’60s and early ‘70s, including “Hessa,” a feverish funk track in the style of Archie Bell & The Drells’ “Tighten Up,” that features the potent yelps of a man consumed by the groove. The song is proof that West Africa’s funk revolution was neither limited to Fela nor a fluke. -- Tomas Palermo
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