Well Above The Rim
I’d never heard of Rim Kwaku Obeng until BBE decided to release ‘the first of two legendary ‘lost’ albums both previously available only as rare-as-hen’s teeth private presses’. The thing that stands out for me about this release is that it contains tracks that will likely end up in my top Afrobeat Songs chart of the year – it really is that good. With plenty of disco fused afrobeats, superb clarity of production and infectious grooves, this album oozes class in every note from beginning to end.
Rim’s interesting past includes flirting with the possibility of working with Quincy Jones to being homeless for 6 months in 1973 after flying to London to record an album with a band called Traffic and singer/songwriter called Joan Armatrading. It was a chance passing by Ronnie Scott’s where she was playing that eventually led to Joan helping him to get his life back on track. He went on to record Rim Arrives in San Francisco in 1977.
From the disco laden Believe in Yourself to the Latin/Afrobeat fusion of Sunkwa (Life First) there is so much variety of tempo and funk on this album that it is very hard to stay still while listening to it! More evidence of Rim’s considerable talent emerges on songs like Funky Drummer that has catchy smooth vocal chants lulling you into a semi laid back kind of funk before an assortment of beats and melodies kick in that literally make you feel like you must be one of the coolest people on the planet. Marvelous.
‘Brushing Means Making Love’ keeps the hand clapping, foot stompin’ energy at a high level with a disco themed, acappella beginning that sweeps you into a horn assisted Afrobeat of such frenzied brilliance that it is sure to be a hit on the dancefloor.
By the time you get to the last track ‘International Funk’ and its brilliant intro, unremitting groove and exquisite layers of production all that is left to do is give a standing ovation to a quite superb album.
Rim has indeed arrived and I’m so glad I came across him.