Joe Mensah – Tribute to the Roots
Mezumbah International 1978

Joe Mensah, front

Joe Mensah, back

This lp is a strange one, Joe Mensah borrowed the
Sweet Talks Band, two members of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70
Organization and thanks Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey,
various styles and musicians mixed and scrambled until
this is what became of it, now you tell me..
file under..?


01 – Medza menya yi
02 – Children children children
03 – Dimle dimle dimle
04 – Highlife beat
–      Sweet banana
–       Gede gede
–      Give me money


12 thoughts on “Joe Mensah – Tribute to the Roots
Mezumbah International 1978

  1. Strange? Why?
    The musicians were (and are) in need of money always. Fame doesn’t fill an empty stomach and the people who earned were the owners of the instruments and the equipment.
    Many bands, groups or orchestras (O.K. Jazz + Afrisa + Polyrythmus of Cotonou and many more) were hired often by third parties to record with them.
    By the way, Joe Mensah is known because of his first album “The African Hustle” (1977), it was recorded with the Sweet Talks too.


    • Did you read the backsleeve ? it speaks of tribute to jazz, R&B, Rock and Roll, Soul, Disco, Salsa, it is a bit confusing. It must be me, wanting to put every record in a categorie. Strange in the way
      I can’t seem to label it..

  2. Chaotic? It sounds like they’re all familiar with the music, and it’s great fun, but doesn’t seem as if they’d played together much. Poor recording balance doesn’t help. Still would make good music at a party, today.

    More seriously, here in the States whomever fronts the band is the one that the disc is filed under. Whether it’s a Hollywood celebrity who has never led a band in their lives, or a classical group fronted by a soloist who has never, etc, it always goes by their name. No matter what else is true.

  3. Hi Moos!
    Yes, I read the back-sleeve. I did not assess this kind of music.
    I tried to “explain” why the Sweet Talks allowed to be hired.
    The Sweet Talks themselves are praised today but their music wasn’t
    all that successful at the time the group was performing (”Adam & Eve”
    was a hit but the following ”The Kusum Beat” was already not successful.
    Moos, I am a little older than you and I travelled to Ghana already when
    Akuffo was in power. I met the people of the AFRC and was in the country
    when they handed over to Liman.
    I met Mick Fleetwood when he recorded “The Visitor” and was in the country,
    when Rawlings took over on Jan. 1st 1982.
    I know what happened not because 3rd parties told me something, I was there.
    I could write many pages about the conditions I met and about the people who
    tried to earn their living expenses. I do not do it because I do not want
    to offend anybody.
    There are many Ghanaians following your blog, one of them should explain
    ”Kalabule” to you and what it meant to live under such conditions.
    Knowing about it and the reason why Joe Mensah sought for aid becomes selfexplained.
    By the way, I don’t like the kind of music Joe Mensah was playing.
    best regards / Thomas

  4. Interesting comments here… Apparently there were two posts on the same day so I must have missed this one until now… I havent listened to the album yet but the mystery and suspense around it is enough to get me to listen as soon as possible… Am definitely younger than Thomas and might be the youngest to frequent this blog because I know that my generation is not interested in this type of music but there are exceptions to every rule so there may be a possibility out there…
    “Kalabule” commonly means to take advantage of somebody or cheating in terms of profit or rip-off, thats my understanding of it but better explanations are welcome and I do know that it originates from the colonial term “Colour Bully”….English is not our native language so it kept on being mispronounced to become “kalabule”.
    Well strange or not, this has been consistent with Joe Mensah… his first album “The Afrikan Hustle” as Thomas said, was indeed recorded with Sweet Talks and he thanked Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey on the backsleeves of that one too… that album can be found on the now idle blog, (
    That osibisaba blog was one amazing blog that had a lot of “ungooglable” albums or beyond the pocket albums all from Ghana and I wonder what happened to it?…Its the greatest loss online and hopefully it comes back soon… definitely dont want the global groove to get there

  5. As a non-Ghanaian, the comments by Kwabena and Thomas are really helpful putting this LP into context. Thanks to both of you. It is a nice LP and definitely benefits from a couple of listens. Side 2 grows on me.

  6. Moos, I just discovered your site tonight and the lost treasures you have compiled here is phenominal. I must commend your efforts with tumultuous kudos. Well done!!
    As to the question & comments on categorizing, I have no clue as my foray into African music is still in its infancy. I would suggest from Mensah’s “tribute” liner notes, he/they may be using the term to highlight the ever-present need for financing and sponsorship of musicians of all the genres mentioned on sleeve. And perhaps a general acknowledgement of “world-diasporan” music styles? Just my two cents.. 🙂

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