Thursday, 27 August 2009

Fela Ransome-Kuti & The Africa ‘70 With Ginger Baker “Live!”

Fela Ransome-Kuti & The Africa ‘70 With Ginger Baker

( LP Celluloid Records, 1971 )
Catalog # CELL 6134

01 – Let’s Start
02 – Black Man’s Cry
03 – Ye Ye De Smell
04 – Egbe Mi O (Carry Me, I Want To Die)
05 – Ginger Baker & Tony Allen Drum Solo

Originally released in 1971, this LP had Fela Kuti solidifying the format that would take him into international visibility in the years to come: extended tracks with grooves that mixed African and funk rhythms, punctuated by rudimentary lyrics. There are just four songs on the album, none shorter than seven minutes, and all but one going over the ten-minute mark. More than a dozen strong, his band, the Africa ‘70, cooks pretty well on tracks that fuse jazz, soul, and African music in a trancelike fashion that avoids becoming stale, despite the length of the arrangements. Ex-Cream/Blind Faith drummer Ginger Baker’s name was given prominence in the billing, probably to attract rock- and pop-oriented listeners who might not ordinarily take a chance on music from the African continent. However, it’s Fela and Africa ‘70, not Baker, who are the dominant presence on a record that sounded much like a mixture of James Brown, fusion, and Nigerian forms. [The 2001 reissue on MCA adds a comparatively disappointing 16-minute drum solo by Ginger Baker and Africa ‘70 drummer Tony Allen, recorded live at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival. If Fela had any involvement with that track, it’s not noted on the sleeve.
By Richie Unterberger (AMG)

By Celo

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