The story of Ghanaian highlife legend Ebo Taylor’s “lost tapes” in his own words

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Discovered in a Nigerian warehouse after 40 years.

In 1980, Ebo Taylor recorded an album in Lagos, mixing his signature highlife style with afrobeat and a political fervour not always present in his previous recordings.

Against a backdrop of Jerry Rawlings’ military rule at home, and an oil boom abroad, the five-track album – titled Palaver and recorded at Tabansi Records’ studios – spoke of the social and political upheaval Taylor experienced in Ghana. Leaving Nigeria at short notice, he never saw the tapes again.

Earlier this year, BBE records embarked on an extensive reissue campaign with Tabansi, among which were the rumoured “lost tapes”, discovered at the label’s Lagos warehouse, almost forty years since they were recorded.

A piece of history from an artist whose prolific catalogue has helped shape contemporary highlife, and whose influence in Ghana is akin to that of Fela Kuti’s in Nigeria, the album captures a significant moment, both in Taylor’s career and the relationship between the two countries it bridges.

Film-maker Joe Fletcher went to Ghana to meet Ebo Taylor in his home and hear the untold story behind the lost recordings.

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