- Release Date 2015-10-09
- Label Africa Seven
- Catalog ASVN004
In 1975 Jo created his genre blended debut album â€œJo Tongoâ€ on the Paris based Disques Esperance label. Sung in English and his native language it was way ahead of its time for the day, blending Jazz, Funk, Soul, afro rhythms and the sounds that were at the time being come to be known as Disco. The album was produced by Jo who plays a wide variety of the instruements and contributes his baritone â€œBarry Whiteâ€ tinged spoken vocals about life and love.
The album opens up with the title track â€œDance To Itâ€, A slice of groovy lounge-funk. Part 1 is all about the driving catchy groove which is layered with a downtown funk saxophone lead line. Part 2 brings in Joâ€™s spoken vocals in his native language and English, setting the tone of the album to come. â€œDisco Madonnaâ€ introduces a Latin flavour with Spanish vocals, a rumba groove and darting percussion. â€œRamayaâ€ melds a playful, summery, euro melody with Joâ€™s throaty, fun-loving vocals and a nascent use of synthesizers.
â€œLets Keep It Togetherâ€ is a song in two parts. The first half builds the groove over washy guitar, and chords before breaking into a solid soul riff with bass, Rhodes and guitar. Over this Jo layers the catchy, soulful vocals, summer-breeze guitars and jazzy keys. A real treat. Flip over to the Vinyl B side for what is probably the albums most â€œgetting downâ€ moment. The driving funk of â€œGive It Upâ€. Stabby brass, whirling organ and tight bass which is all wrapped up in a one tight arrangement. Add in doses of Joâ€™s sulty vocal and that is a recipe for a real winner.
â€œDonâ€™t Fight The Feelingâ€ again furthers into real deep funk territory. Jo opening up with a sermon on â€œlove and sexâ€. The album closes with the swinging soul of the pensive Jo and his thoughts on life, â€œOdwaâ€. What is going down?
The Give It Up track was a highlight of the recent Africa Seven debut release â€œAfrican Airways Volume 1: (Funk Connection 1972-1979). To Follow that up Africa Seven are proud to repress the debut Jo Bisso album in its full glory.
Jo moved back from the US in 1981. From 1981 to 1989 his lived in Cote Dâ€™Ivoire. He now lives in Paris and although he sometimes â€œfinds it hard to listen to his albumsâ€, he does thinks it great that people love his music and his debut album is getting a re-release all these years later.