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Washington DC’s Mayor Marion Barry (left) welcomes Franco (second from left) to the city

Faced with a choice of which track by Franco to play as the best demonstration of what made him such a revered figure throughout Africa, no nomination will be seconded by every one. You could start at the beginning, with one of his template-setting songs recorded when he was still a teenage band-leader in the mid-1950s. Or come up to the 1980s, when excellent recording studios showed the power of his rhythm section and vocalists. But I’ve gone for ‘Tailleur’ from the late 1970s, purportedly about a tailor who can’t thread his needle but widely recognised as being about an incompetent politician of the day.

By Prince

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