Friday, September 14, 2007

The Ramblers Dance Band 'Hit Sound, Vol 1'

I still remember as a child walking through Kanda Estate to the Ruga playgrounds to watch our local football heroes, The Seekers Football Club play games that attracted surrounding towns showcasing talents never seen before. And I still remember, while my childhood buddies and I walked through the affluent Kanda Estate, the airwaves were all over blasting 'Knock On Wood' and we began to recite that club number released by Ramblers Dance Band. 'Knock On Wood' and probably 'Alome' were the tracks implanted in my brain until now that I started researching and digging out archives of African musical heritage.

Quite interesting and good to know, Ramblers Dance Band came a long way during Ghana's colonial and post-independence era. Tenor Saxophonist Jerry Hansen who had played with several top-notch big bands including E.T. Mensah & His Tempos Band following the highlife boom, Hansen, in 1961, broke up with Ga native King Bruce who led the Black Beats Highlife Band, then a classical, swing and jazzy-fusion blend of big bands. Hansen left the Black Beats with nine other musicians to form a 15-piece band, the Ramblers Dance Band, playing gigs, night clubs and major events all around the shores of Ghana. The Ramblers would be idolized and 'Knock On Wood' would be a national anthem as it echoed all the time at Harlem Cafe in Nima 441, Accra.

Paying attention to the music now, I can feel the originality of highlife music begun by this sensational group led by Hansen. I can also feel a drawing of rock guitar, jazzy tunes and the swing and Latin-American salsa flavors come to life. Though in the 60s, there were great big band influences like C.K. Mann Big Band, Azaga & the Archiboys, African Brothers Band and many other big band jam sessions in Accra, saxophonist Hansen took Ramblers to another level recording 'Knock On Wood,' a "soul-funktified" grooved dance track. The entire CD sounds very persuavive from the rhythmical sense, the chorus very commanding and the remastering absolutely perfect.

Track List:

1. Ekombi

2. Agyanke

3. Ama Bonsu

4.Nyame Ke Nhyehee

5. Nyame Mbere

6. Alome

7. Knock On Wood

8. Onua Pa Due

9. Ima Abasi

10.Betta Ni

11.Gyae Su Na Nkomo Dzi

12.Meda Gbefa

13Meni Nda Obiara So

Original Release Date: September 1995

Label: Flame Tree
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