As promised, this month all the tracks that I post will be from Africa. This week, and next, we’re in the company of Franco & Le TPOK Jazz.
Last year, Sterns Africa released Francophonic Volume 1, the first of two double CD collections of Franco’s music. The second album, unsurprisingly titled Francophonic Volume 2, was released just a few weeks ago.
This pair of retrospectives style Franco as Africa’s Greatest and I’m somewhat ashamed to admit, despite the received wisdom, I had never been a fan of Franco’s music before buying this album. I’m not sure why. I’d never listened to a complete album before and I made my judgement by catching odd tracks played from time to time on the radio.
When Francophonic Volume 1 was released and got such fabulous reviews, I thought that I would buy it and would surely learn why Franco is held in such regard. It didn’t take too many hearings to appreciate the music and understand how Franco got his reputation as an African superstar.
One thing that I particularly like about this compilation, is that it takes a strictly chronological approach to building the tracks. As a result, you can follow Franco’s musical development. The early tracks are great but relatively unsophisticated. The later tracks, especially on CD2, are much more polished; not better but certainly slicker.
To illustrate the development charted by this album, I’ll post an early recording from the first CD this week and a slicker sounding tune from the second CD next week.