Our Ghana highlife detour week continues with a rich and exotic afro-latin tropical highlife buffet - a unique 1971 offering from the Ramblers Band International. As an added bonus, do come back this weekend to enjoy a rare album from one the few and most successful women singer-songwriters of Ghanaian highlife, backed up by the fine musicianship of Pat Thomas, Papa Yanson, Eddie Donkor and Eric Ageyman.
For today: the Ramblers’ “Doin our own thing” is a wonderfully diverse album with twelve tracks in multiply different tempos that invite you to find a comfortable shady spot and allow yourself to be transported by the many possibilities and timings of the big band brass and mesmerising congas on offer.
The Ramblers Dance band was formed in 1962 and thrived into the 1980s. In the 1950s tenor saxophonist Jerry Hansen was a key member of the Black Beats, featured in earlier postings here and here, before taking nine band members with him in 1962 to form the Ramblers. This 15-piece big dance band was highly successful for more than twenty years.
"If one finds some similarity (however remote) in rhythm style to the music of Soul, Jazz and Afro-Cuban artists one needs to remember they were weaned from the same breast as the music of The Ramblers” (writes Frank Hayfron in the sleevenotes).
For my tastes, this album offers up the best version of “Grazin in the Grass” that I have heard - moody and rich in texture. And if you thought Afro-Cuban music climaxed with Africando, give the two Puente compositions on this album a listen. In-between, band-leader, arranger extraordinaire and saxophonist Jerry Hansen treats us to four of his compositions. If I was forced to keep only one Ghanaian record in my current collection - this would probably be it.
Mediafire here (correct link now)