Various Artists

Nigeria Disco Funk Special

The Lagos of the 1970s was less swollen with humanity (only 3 million inhabitants compared with today’s 15), more swollen with cash (an oil boom briefly brought prosperity to the country’s middle-class), and ravenous for 7-inch singles of American disco and funk. But above all else, it was a place of boundless, infectious zeal. And that’s what permeates Nigeria Disco Funk Special. Gathering music from a time when, as the liner notes ascertain, Lagos-based bands were nudged toward recording material fused with African elements rather than mimicking imported white pop, the compilation’s indebted to a particular region, but is eclectic enough to appeal to those who aren’t indigenous. The Sahara All Stars of Jos inject melody into their brand of mid-tempo funk, “Take Your Soul”’s eight-note bassline bouncing along underneath the shifty, psychedelic guitar and jazzy horns. Wah-wah-tinged guitars and ebullient polyrhythms drive Asiko’s “Lagos City.” The hustle never stops in Lagos—not even when Bongos Ikwue laments the bleak future of so many Nigerians in the 1970s on account of the Biafran War’s ethnic cleansing and famine. “Mama may have and your papa may have,” he sings, “but God bless the child who’s got his own.”