Album of the Week: Various Artists | Bulawayo Blue Yodel

1950s Country & Western by way of Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa.

Do you know Mississippi Records? Their records were featured in many a post on the old Twittering Machines and I had an entire Ikea Expedit section sectioned off just for records released by Mississippi Records. Their calling card was the ultra-rare, ultra-lovely roots music from around the globe. I am happy to report, they are still at it.

Bulawayo Blue Yodel, which was co-released with Olvido Records earlier this month, is filled with 1950s Country & Western style sounds from Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa. The music here, as is the case with many a Mississippi release, was sourced from the original 78rpm shellacs. Think immediate, soul-stirring non-audiophile sound.

George Sibanda, Josaya Hadebe, Sabelo Mathe, Sammy Ngaku, and 11 more sing songs whose origins made the cross continental journey at least twice — Africa > US > Africa — seeing as there’s no such thing, outside of indigenous music, as “American” music. Folk, blues, and country all had their roots in a stew cooked up from the music of older civilizations.

Bulawayo Blue Yodel serves as a beautiful reminder of how people, in their creative souls, know no borders.