Monday, June 14, 2010
AFROBEAT EXPLOSION IN MY CAR
FELA KUTI – “Open & Close/Afrodisiac”
“Open & Close” was a proper LP from 1971, while “Afrodisiac” was an LP collection of singles spanning three years (1970-1972). Both are terrific, especially the title track on “Open & Close” – some of the most joyous, full-band, uplifting dance music I’ve heard. One thing I love about afrobeat and Fela’s stewardship of it is that most tracks clock in at well greater than 10 minutes, so you lock onto a groove and you don’t let go until you've blown past your freeway exits. I chose this disc pretty much at random and it was a "hella" strong first choice.
FELA KUTI – “Roforofo Fight/The Fela Singles”
WAX POETICS magazine Africa issue with Fela on the cover. I learned what a dictatorial egomaniacal bastard he was in the course of several interviews with his bandmates and compatriots, and then I’d put this CD on, listen to it three times straight on a commute, and all was forgiven.
“NIGERIA AFROBEAT SPECIAL”
Soundway, who are master crate diggers devoted to bringing long-lost records from around the globe back to the people. They’ve got a growing series of discs just like this one, including a “Ghana Special” that I also have that’s probably a little more even, and which I'll review later sometime. That said, this thing’s a great listen before it devolves into easy listening “danceable mellowness” about two-thirds through. Oh – and there’s a raucous Fela track on here, too, called “Who’re You (Original 45 version)”, and it’s a total bodyfat-melter.
"LEGENDS OF BENIN"
“GHANA SOUNDZ” compilation way back in 2003. Benin? Yeah, that’s right – sandwiched right next to Togo and Nigeria in Western Africa. This is subtitled “Afro-Funk – Cavacha – Agbadja – Afro-Beat 1969-1981”, and it makes for a varied and very impressive overview of ethnic dance sounds from this tiny country during the 70s. It has a super-detailed book of liner notes with incredible old photos of the band in action, sporting the best in 1970s African musician-wear. As on “Nigeria Afrobeat Special”, there’s one clear winner – the tracks from ANTOINE DOUGBÉ. This guy led a totally smoking band – not in the James Brown/Fela sense of loud percussive sound, but a band who operated as a tight, propulsive unit that most assuredly could fill a dancehall floor from the word go. I’m posting my fave track on this excellent collection, “Honton Soukpo Gnon”, and it’s one of 4 tracks from DOUGBÉ, including one with ORCHESTRE POLY-RYTHMO, whom Wax Poetics wrote about in that Africa issue I was tellin’ you about and who I want to hear more from. I say if you’ve got $35 to spare, pick this one up and the Fela “Open & Close” disc and you’re off to the races, Afrobeat style.
Play “We Dey Find Money” - ERIC SHOWBOY AKAEZE & HIS ROYAL ERICOS
Download “We Dey Find Money” - ERIC SHOWBOY AKAEZE & HIS ROYAL ERICOS (from “Nigeria Afrobeat Special” compilation CD)
Play “Honton Soukpo Gnon” - ANTOINE DOUGBÉ
Download “Honton Soukpo Gnon” - ANTOINE DOUGBÉ (from “Legends of Benin” compilation CD)