You can listen to Franco’s “Massu”. Download Massu (Franco) – Franco & le T.P. O.K. Jazz below:Massu (Franco) - Franco & le T.P. O.K. Jazz 1986 (1 download)
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This song is unique for several reasons. Obviously, because it’s one of only two songs that have singer Jolie Detta on it, but more importantly, because of Franco’s guitar part on it. We like to think of Franco’s guitar role as mi-solo, and the mi refers to the range of his playing. Lower, we usually find the rhythm guitar (Gégé Mangaya) and under that the bass (Mpudi Decca), above the mi-solo is the solo (here: Dizi Mandjeku). But usually, Franco’s part is the free part.
On this song, however, besides the obvious solos he plays of course, Franco’s guitar part is the very basis of the song, so seemingly not really free at all. His riff is what the whole song was built on.
Other examples are Mario, Makambo Ezali Minene, 12,600 Lettres, Non!, Tu Vois? (aka Mamou), all songs of a certain type, basically in the African Jazz school type of composing. The subtle variations he plays in the riff are excruciating. But it’s very, very easy to miss how wonderfully he does that. That’s why it deserves to be heard in the stereo mix, because in mono it’s even harder to take notice. Just for once, ignore everything else and concentrate on listening all the way through to the guitar that you hear in the intro. Headphones might help.
And as if that is not enough of a signature of the master, remember: people were not used to hearing a female voice on an O.K. Jazz record at the time, he did a little backing vocal, too. But for most of the song, Jolie Detta does her own backing vocal. The reason Detta did not make any more records with Franco after this one, was that this 18-year-old girl was not strong enough to carry the succes that came out of it. Children shouting her name at her in the street, etc.
The succes was too much for her, so she became “sick”, or at least, that was the way Franco put it. The female vocal experiment was continued with Nana and Baniel, who contributed to three LP’s. About the great love and friendship between her and someone called Massu…later on, in the chorus, she said that jealousy, and too much curiosity (songi songi) killed their love and friendship. She is reminding Massu that they were good friends, they shared all together but they got separated because of Massou spreading all kinds of bad and untrue rumours about her. Every time she got something new and good going on in her life Massu was jealous and talking trash about her.