Free Music (Part 1)

Free Music (Part 1)

Blisteringly groovy collection of completely off-the-radar songs by
Libyan composer / producer Najib Alhoush’s group The Free Music,
circa 1976.

Artist: The Free Music & Najib Alhoush

Genre: Funk

Label: Habibi Funk Records

Release date:

Releasing an astonishing 10 albums, all impressively
strong and equally infused by soul, funk, disco and reggae, The Free
Music created a distinctly infectious groove that unfortunately didn’t
make an impact outside of Libya due to the complex political situation
at the time. There is a reason it says “Part 1” in the title.
Avid Habibi Funk listeners may be familiar with Libyan composer / producer
Najib Alhoush, who’s track “Ya Aen Daly” - the Bee Gee’s “Stayin Alive”
cover - was included in our second compilation. While the original track
never excited us, Najib’s version managed to strip it from its pop approach
that had taken over disco during the genre`s peak. At that time, disco tracks
mostly were aiming to appeal to the widest audience possible. Najib had
turned the original track into something different and very unique. Upon
further research we found that Najib was actually the singer and founder of
The Free Music band alongside Fakhreddin, Salim Jibreel, Abdulrazzak ‘Kit-
Kat’, Mukhtar Wanis and Mohameed Al Rakibi.
Initially, we only licensed Najib Alhoush’s “Ya Aen Daly” from Yousef
Alhoush, Najib’s son, who was pleased to hear that there was interest in his
father’s music form someone abroad. In the process of exchanging and
learning about Najib’s music and career, our understanding was that The
Free Music only recorded the one album. This couldn’t be further from the
truth, in fact, there were ten albums produced by the group, all impressively
coherent with a clear influence from disco, soul, funk and reggae.
The Free Music album was probably the longest it ever took us to gather
information, photos and musical source material in a good enough quality to
be reissued. This is largely due to the complicated political situation in
Libya, compounded by the fact that Libya is still largely cut off from
international payment systems, so getting an advance payment to the right
person can be a process that takes weeks. The same goes for getting
master tapes to a studio abroad and afterwards back to Libya.
When we look for music that works under the umbrella of Habibi Funk, we
often come across albums where bands experimented with influences from
Soul, Jazz, Funk, Disco and more, usually on a single track or two but then
they often go down to a different path for the rest of the album. This was not
the case for The Free Music. All their albums are fully dedicated to their
unique blend of Disco, Reggae and Funk and it feels that when we made
the selection for this album, we could have chosen a completely different
number of tracks and the album would be been equally strong.

About the artist

Najib Alhoush is a Libyan composer / producer

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