(4 / 5)
Long admired by fans of Afro Funk, Matata were contemporaries of Osibisa, Cymande, Assagai and other black groups from the early 1970s, who fused African music with black American funk rhythms.
Schooled in the nightclubs of Kenya, Matata came to the UK in the early 1970s and signed to President Records. Their debut album, “Matata – Air Fiesta”, was issued in 1972 and promoted by two infectious singles, the Rare Groove classic “Wanna Do My Thing,” and 1973’s “I Need Somebody”.
Thereafter, Matata temporarily disbanded and returned to Kenya. Eventually, a new line-up convened for a second LP, “Independence”, which was more heavily indebted to their musical hero James Brown. This time, President lifted “I Feel Funky,” and “Return To You,” as singles.
“Wanna Do My Thing,” is the first-ever collection of Matata’s complete President recordings, including both albums (re-mastered from the original tapes) plus a B-side, two previously unissued versions and four tracks recorded later. It is a tremendous two CD set of a dozen cuts on each of the two original albums, and five bonus tracks x 2; demos, B-sides and alternative versions, plus the 1988 A-side, “Mbongo (Money)”.
There are some informative sleeve-notes by specialist music writer John Masouri, in conversation with key band member Anwar Richard.
By Sally Fox
(1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’