First in a series drawing on some of the earliest recordings in the EMI Hayes Archive — recovered from more than 150,000 78s, staggering music from Iraq, Turkey, Caucasia, the Lebanon, Iran (including sides made in Old Street, London, in 1909), Egypt and the Belgian Congo. This opener presents the music of the West African underground of 1920s Britain, recorded at Hayes and released on the Zonophone label (which exported nearly all the records to West Africa). You can hear Caribbean influences here, the promise of highlife there, but Living Is Hard mostly disavows fusion and assimilation. And by contrast with antecedents in the history of black music in Britain — minstrelsy and spirituals, for example, ragtime and jazz — these recordings are unhitched from the protocols of a white listenership. This is startling, trenchant, elemental roots — carrying troubled news home, and signs of the new African nationalism — and an enthralling glimpse of other lives, another time here. A heavyweight gatefold with a booklet in the same style as London Is The Place For Me.