This post commemorates what I believe to be the final collaboration between Zaire's Pamelo Mounk'a and his French producer/arranger, Eddy Gustave. On this album both men hewed closely to the sound of their earlier work together, augmenting an already celestial template with new coloring, selectively applied (as with the flanging on Pamelo's voice, a piquant touch). This was the third (or quite possibly the fourth) eponymously titled album by Pamelo, causing such few fanatics of my acquaintance who dig M. Mounk'a the most to reference it as the "red" album; against a background the color of a hooker's nail varnish, the cover photo shows our ever-genial singer striding toward the camera. He wears a stylish four-pocket jacket and black slacks and looks, for all intents and purposes, like an off-duty linebacker. Who could tell that such a gentle voice emerged from a guy that, to judge by his ostensible appearance, you really wouldn't want to annoy? Pamelo always took care to present himself in bespoke manner for the packaging of his music. I enjoy the thought that, were The Chap to publish an edition in Lingala, Pamelo Mounk'a would be a likely cover subject.
And so it goes: Pamelo Mounk'a died on January 14th, 1996, a victim of diabetes. During the final months of his life, his extremities were swollen and painful but, fearful that a European doctor might simply amputate, Pamelo opted for tribal remedies. That such a fate should befall an individual who personified charm and levity and insouciance and, ultimately, immaculate sonic elegance is in itself sufficient to confirm my atheism.
The next installment will feature another E. Gustave production of P. Mounk'a. After all, summer is upon us. These sounds, and others like them, should remain significant threads in the social fabric, drifting from every opened window, non?
PAMELO MOUNK'A, THE "RED" ALBUM (@160)