Pat Thomas introduces Marijata

Academy LPs • 2016

Frank was in Accra. Actually, Frank moved around in Africa quite a lot, tracking down the creators of old African records in order to re-issue those records with loving care. Already in 2011, he announced on his blog Voodoo Funk that he was planning on re-releasing »Pat Thomas introduces Marijata«. In order to do so, he met up with one of the band’s founders, Kofi »Electric« Addison. Together they worked on the liner notes and Kofi even provided Frank with pictures from the year the record was releases. Here’s where the first of the bad news arises in this re-issue: there are no liner notes or photos to be seen anywhere (the second, more negligible one, lies in the labelling – the prints on the sides were mixed up). Hence, what’s left is the music, as it has always been, and it leaves lots of room for forgiveness. The music: soulful Afro-funk, at times with almost Jamaican vibes of uplift, at others more thoughtful, and mostly lively and raising the dust. It stands out through rhythmic versatility and a rawness that withstands the usual Africa-utopia usually arising within European listeners – the desert definitely seems closer than the oasis on this record. However, it can’t quite live up to the emotional intensity of the Ghanaian band’s best album »This Is Marijata«. »Pat Thomas…« isn’t quite as grim, fierce or esoteric as the first mentioned. However, what’s remarkable is that it needs this comparison in order to nag. This record, too, is bursting with live, with improvisational spirit and with continuous intensity.