When I was growing up in Ibadan (Nigeria) I didn’t really need to spend money on records because there was a nice flow of music in our home. My uncles brought some records with them almost every time they visited so all I had to do was get a blank cassette tape ready to record some good music. My father also had a small number of funky records alongside his favourite collection of records by Elvis Presley, James Last, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, King Sunny Ade, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and I.K. Dairo.
The radio Disc Jockeys were the ones who really kept me up to date with the latest sounds in town. My cassette tapes were always ready to record any new song that was aired on the radio. In those days the word ‘download’ was alien to the dictionary because the World Wide Web did not exist!
My love for music, especially my knowledge of the latest hits, became well-known at school and among my friends and I was highly respected for my new-found knowledge. When the opportunity arose I was asked to represent my school in an inter-school music quiz. I still remember the suspicious look I got when I told my father I was off to represent my school at a quiz. He thought it was an academic quiz. I made sure music wasn’t mentioned!
Even though I didn’t own a single record, I became a popular DJ at my friends’ parties. All I had was a few cassette tapes filled with the hippest sounds around. When the demand for my DJing grew beyond my tapes, I started thinking of starting my own record collection. Back then the flow of good music was in abundance – Calypso, Reggae, Disco, Soul, Jazz-Funk, P-Funk. I was so keen to become a real record collector and the first LP (Long Play) record I bought was in December 1979. It was a Disco record titled ‘Midnight Energy’ by an American group called Mantus. The album was mixed by the legendary John “Jellybean” Benitez and produced by Will Crittendon. The hottest song on the album – (Dance It) Freestyle Rhythm – is 9 minutes 33 seconds long and 130 beats per minute (BPM). You knew it was time for a good workout once you stepped on the dancefloor.
A1 (Dance It) Freestyle Rhythm A2 Midnight Energy B1 Rock It To The Top B2 I’m So In Love With You