Ma Fou Fou
Editions Makossa is a cult label amongst funk fans – it represents some of the hardest core African funk out there. Much like our Caribbean favorite label Charlie’s, all of these recordings got filtered back through Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and put out on singles that claim American manufacture. You wonder precisely who was buying them – I’d actually like to congratulate anyone who was hip enough at the time to do so.
Despite my Brooklyn background, I picked up “Ma Fou Fou” recently in Berlin’s Graefekiez. The guy at the record shop was convinced that he was overcharging me due to condition – I think he listened to it and thought that the weedy sound was due to the condition of the record rather than the no doubt primitive live recording techniques. I was happy to pay what he was asking because it was way less than the market price for the record, and it friggin’ BURNS. I mean, listen to the damn thing! I was going to pick this up even if it was trashed and try to live with it.
Now, I know a few tricks for cleaning up surface noise on monophonic records, mostly involving a thorough cleaning and a double Y cable to cancel out any stereo noise – this I would do all the time because it doesn’t change the sound at all. On “Ma Fou Fou,” unusually for me, I also spent some time in the mastering stage trying to bring out the bass and guitar at their appropriate moments – it ends up giving the record a bit more of a James Brown feel than perhaps existed in the flat transfer. You can call it screwing around with the production intent if you want to, but the bottom line is that this record was recorded rather than produced in the first place. I’m just trying to cut a bit of murk out, and you can rest assured that I will not be doing this with most records.[audio http://www.divshare.com/direct/24364518-267.mp3]