Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fela Kuti & Koola Lobitos - Afro Beat On Stage: Recorded Live at The Afro Spot

a '66 live LP by fela's highlife band, released on polydor and i think never reissued on cd except as part of various compilations of his '60s works, most recently as a bonus 10" with vampisoul's excellent "lagos baby" double LP comp

the sound quality is pretty bad, there is a weird echo to fela's voice and the mix is pretty muddy, but if anything that gives the whole thing character, makes it even rawer; and it is pretty raw, taking highlife's typical horn freakouts to new funky extremes, with percussion way too mad for hit singles but perfect for this saturday night session (he says "tomorrow we have a sunday afternoon jam!" after the first track!)

the title might claim it is afrobeat, and certainly some of the tunes, especially the 7-minute "akro", give some hints of the direction fela would take post '69, but it's still distinctly highlife, west africa's lastingly popular dance music which takes strong hints from jazz although generally maintaining rhythmic discipline over all. fela doubles on sax & vocals here i think, but it's a band affair - i don't know if it's tony allen behind the drumkit, but whoever it is, he's on fire. the opener, "everyday i got my blues" is pretty mellow and easy, but after that things pick up and peak towards the end.

A1 - Everyday I Got My Blues
A2 - Moti Gbrokan
A3 - Waka Waka
B1 - Ako
B2 - Ororuka
B3 - Laise

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