Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sounds-Like Hits - Kenyan cover versions?

A week or two ago I chanced upon an unusual-looking album on Ebay - "Sounds-Like Hits volume 2". The listing had just ended, so I missed my chance to bag it for 99p, and the would-be seller decided he wouldn't re-list it. So, it's one which got away from me...

Further research proved a little fruitful but not much! There was, not surprisingly, a volume 1 as well, as listed on Discogs. Here are both albums, with song titles printed on the front:

Both albums appear to have come out in 1975. Whether they really are soundalikes is hard to know, but the vintage of the tracks suggests as much - the contents of volume 1 were practically all UK hits in 1974-75, giving it a topical twist, while those visible on the front of volume 2 follow suit (except "Loving Arms", which is unknown to us). This selecting of recent hit material is one of the trademarks of the budget covers LP.

The full track listing for volume 1, incidentally, is as follows:

  • When Will I See You Again     
  • Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby     
  • You're My First My Last My Everything     
  • Shame Shame Shame     
  • Rock The Boat     
  • Rock Your Baby     
  • I Can't Leave You Alone     
  • Let's Get It On     
  • Kung Fu Fighting     
  • Dance The Kung Fu     
  • Doctor's Orders     
  • Drift Away

And the album title? It's tempting to link it to the UK "Sounds Like Hits" series from Fontana/Rediffusion, but they'd stopped appearing by the end of 1970. Consequently there are no direct links, and cover version equivalents of tracks like "Shame Shame Shame" and "Rock The Boat" are obscure - not least because few regular LP series were still appearing come 1975.

We do know that AIT was the label here, which was operating out of Kenya. Again from Discogs: "A.I.T. Records, run by the Kenyan politician and music producer, P. Oluoch Kanindo, was an important player in the Kenyan music industry with a publishing wing, EIT Pub."

Not many budget cover versions are known from Africa (apart from those issued in South Africa). I have just one in my collection, an East African edition of "Top of the Pops volume 20". Wish I'd stumbled upon "Sounds-Like Hits volume 2" a little earlier, and it would be in my collection right now! Instead, I'll keep my eyes peeled for more info...

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