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mosheA great rockabilly cover of this Lionel Hampton jazz/bop classic from way back (1945).

The big question here is: Is it really from Congo? The seller told me that it is, but the record itself does not yield any conclusive evidence. It was pressed in France by Pathé, like a lot of African and non-African records were, and the original composition on the flip (a bongo and organ instrumental) is credited to “Essous-Stein” – not exactly helpful one way or another. I wouldn’t guess there are too many Steins in the Congo, but who knows. I thought I might have been duped, but according to Gary Stewart’s book Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos (Verso, 2004), there was in fact a Stenco label operated by a Frenchman by the name of Stein (originally a clothes salesman), who also ran a bar called Super Jazz in the Republic of the Congo (a.k.a. Congo-Brazzaville). The mysterious “Essous” is Jean Serge Essous, clarinet player and leader of the popular 1960s group Orchestre Bantou. So there you have it: not only is it from Congo, it’s apparently from the much less productive of the two Congos. I suppose this fits a certain niche as Congo-Brazzaville’s first (and only?) rockabilly record. Iraq has its lone folk-rock record (Ja’afar Hassan’s Let’s Sing Together), India has its lone pair of garage rock comps (Simla Beat), and Congo-Brazzaville has this record.

Now, with that solved…who the heck is Moshé?

Moshé- Hey Ba Bare Bop! (Stenco, date unknown)