Monday, October 02, 2006

The Sisyphean Ordeal of Building an Abdullah Ibrahim Collection

For anyone who has attempted to amass a collection of Abdullah Ibrahim's music, you know just how maddening it can be - navigating the sheer number of out-of-print vinyls that are partially re-issued on several CDs, which are then partially re-issued onto other CDs....then the problems of dealing with South African releases versus US releases (Mannenberg vs. Cape Town Fringe), or the multiple yet different European releases of an album (Anatomy of a South African Village springs to mind). Truly a nightmare...

There is a saving grace for anyone who is really serious about finding Ibrahim's music - a man in Copenhagen, Lars Rasmussen, assembled a book detailing Abdullah Ibrahim's discography. To call this book detailed is like describing the Atlantic Ocean as "pretty deep." This book contains never-released albums; it contains the reference to Ibrahim's earliest work with the Tuxedo Slickers orchestra in 1954; most importantly, it details which tracks from vinyls were re-issued onto CDs.

The book is a bit pricey for Americans importing it, but if you are serious about building up a collection, you really need this book. You can find it here:

Of course, then that raises the subsequent issue of how the hell you FIND some of these Abdullah Ibrahim albums...well, best of luck there. If I can make a suggestion of one in particular to keep an eye out for, it would be "Live at Sweet Basil Volume 1" - a set of Abdullah Ibrahim with Carlos Ward. Also worth checking out is "Third World Underground" - Abdullah with Don Cherry and Carlos Ward. Out of print, but you can find it at

Happy hunting!


At 6:08 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

I've been trying for years to get hold of a CD or mp3s of the album Live At Sweet Basil you mention - you don't happen to know whether such a CD exists, do you? Best wishes, Andrew

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

Please send any reply to this comment, not the previous one, because this time I remembered to click the box to make sure it emails me any follow-up comments :)

At 6:19 AM, Blogger sm said...

Andrew, the album was released on CD in 1987 on Blackhawk (BKHCD 50204).

Very, very hard to find though. (and the Live at Sweet Basil Vol. 2 was never released)


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