Afro Rock Vol. 1 is one of the most important compilations of heavy original ‘70s Afro funk and soul to be released in recent years. Originally surfacing on Duncan Brooker’s indie Kona label in early 2001, the album single-handedly kick-started the thirst among jazz, funk and soul fans and ‘diggers’ to rediscover lost music from Africa made during the ‘60s and ‘70s from a time when many countries were gaining independence and celebrating a Pan-African identity within their music. The album was one of the first to reach a far different audience than the traditional ‘world music’ market and spawned many further projects and labels in its wake. A year later, the Nigeria 70 compilation surfaced on Strut and labels like Soundway and Analog Africa would continue to unearth amazing lost gems from the Motherland.
The album is testament to the determined work of Brooker following several research trips, especially to East Africa – Kenya and Zaire. It brought to light East Africa’s finest funk band, Air Fiesta Matata, led by the recently deceased Steele Beautttah, ‘The Nigerian James Brown’ Geraldo Pino from Port Harcourt in Nigeria, and the storming Afro jam ‘Yuda’ by Dackin Dackino, a previously unreleased gem from Zaire discovered on a discarded reel. The album has remained influential since its release with tracks appearing on other Afro compilations and on TV and film – Jingo’s ‘Fever’ featured in Kevin McDonald’s 2006 hit film, ‘Last King Of Scotland’.