While Ebo Taylor's name is not familiar to most as one of the pioneers of Afro-beat, it should be. Taylor, the Ghanian composer, arranger, guitarist, and vocalist has been making music since the 1950s, and studied with Fela Kuti at the Eric Guilder School of Music in London from 1962 until 1965. Rather than go the solo path, he opted instead for Accra's studio scene, where he appeared on dozens of singles and albums . He cut a self-titled solo album in 1977 on the local label Essiebons. Tracks from it, another album entitled Conflict, and various singles have appeared in recent years on various European compilations. The Strut imprint, not content to let Taylor's name languish in obscurity, put its money where its mouth was, and paired him with the Afrobeat Academy of Berlin, which includes guitarist J. Whitefield of the Whitefield Brothers and various guests from Europe and Africa.
Christopher Hogwood has found himself a dream cast here, with even the smallest roles taken by big names. There are a couple of surprises along the way, such as the underage First Sailor (sung by a slightly quavery treble) and the cross-dressing Sorceress, here taken by a bass. Still David Thomas cackles and machinates with the best of them, so don't let that put you off.