Even in the MP3 age, there are CDs worth searching out–and that require the search. “O.O.P., We Did It Again” is dedicated to great albums that are criminally out of print, and that aren’t necessarily likely to become available anytime soon.
The album: The Rough Guide to the Music of Kenya and Tanzania (1996), one of the many worthwhile titles to stem from the joint efforts of World Music Network and the Rough Guide travel books.
Classic material: This one has some sentimental value for me. Back in 1997 I got nearly the entire Rough Guide CD catalogue to that date for a lengthy write-up. The Kenya and Tanzania volume struck me then as just about the best of the series, a grade-A album in large part because it worked as an album, moving from urban Kenya to rural Tanzania and making the whole thing seem like a journey, but without making a big deal out of it.
Highlights: The sequencing is especially strong on this comp, so the whole thing plays beautifully, but the best song comes early, with Victoria Kings’ “V.B. Pod Wamol” a Kenyan highlight–rapid guitars, jumpy vocals, killer beat.
Why it’s out of print: Ten years ago, it didn’t seem likely for any series to continue until today, so props to Rough Guide for continuing their good work. They’ve even arguably improved it: the compilations are, if anything, stronger now than they were then. Nevertheless, that forward movement has meant that the earlier titles have gone by the wayside to make room for new ones.
Chances it will return to print: Not great. It might be best in this case to hope WMN recycles some of these tracks for future collections, which seems fairly likely to happen.
Cost for a used copy: At this time, Amazon has only one used CD, available for a whopping $174 plus ancillary costs.