Monday, 31 January 2011

Blo "Phases 1972-1982"


"Phases 1972-1982"
Released: 26/02/2001
Label: Strut
Catalog: STRUTACD 004

01) Preacher Man (04:45)
02) Miss Sagit (04:47)
03) Chant To Mother Earth (06:09)
04) Blo (05:27)
05) It's Gonna Be A Good Day (04:19)
06) Don't Take Her Away From Me (04:33)
07) Atide (03:04)
08) Scandi Boogie (04:45)
09) Trace Of Suicide (04:05)
10) Number One (04:45)
11) Get That Groove In (04:11)
12) Loving Caring (04:03)
13) Dance In A Circle (08:19)

The 70's were a tumultuous time in nigerian music. The afro-carib-jazz sound of highlife had swept West Africa, and funk was hitting hard. At any time in Lagos you could find a huge variety of cross-cultural fusions, melding old and new world, tradition and invention. Out of this creative storm came many influential groups, some of which derived their influences more directly than others. When Ginger Baker (drummer of Cream group) made the journey from the UK across the desert to Nigeria in a Range Rover in the late '60s, he brought a BBC camera crew and an abiding interest in absorbing african styles. Fast forward to 1971: Baker formed a band called Salt, featuring five nigerian musicians, which toured the US and Europe. When Salt imploded, a power trio named Blo emerged from its ashes. Phases documents the rise and fall of this group through a decade of changes, drawing from five records issued over the period.
In 1972, Blo created its own sound, which evolved dramatically over the next ten years. The instrumentation was straight out of rock: guitar, bass and drums. The approach was pure pop (however you might define it during those crazy times) but it involved extended, creative improvisation. Ths music drifted among the sounds of '70s Lagos, pulling together bits and pieces from here and there. The first three tracks on Phases come from Blo's debut, an unadulterated trip through sound and space. The guitar on "Miss Sagit" glides through minor melodies with a decidedly sitar-liks sound; "Chant To Mother Earth" features slow, echoing vocals. A couple years later, Blo turned to the deep funk that would remain their hallmark. "It's Gonna Be A Good Day" blends strutting guitar with syncopated bass and drums, carrying an upbeat vocal message and an irrestible call to dance. Only rarely did the group turn back to its Yoruba roots, as on "Atide", featured here. As time progressed, they bagan to dip into the frenzy of disco, retaining the energy without the faux plastic trim. "Scandi Boogie" (from 1976's album "Phase 4") stands as the high point of Phases:

I don't need no explanations
You can feel the vibrations...
Are you cool enough to do it?
Gonna do it! Scandi boogie!

How can you say no that invitation?

Tracks 01 to 03 taken from the LP "Chapter One" 1973 EMI Nigeria.
Tracks 04 to 07 taken from the LP "Phase 2" 1975 Afrodisia.
Tracks 08 to 10 taken from the LP "Phase 4" 1976 Afrodisia.
Tracks 11-12 taken from the LP "Bulky Backside" 1979 Afrodisia.
Track 13 taken from the LP "Back In Time" 1980 Afrodisia.

Bass: Mike "Gbenga" Odumosu (tracks 01 to 07)
Drums: Laolu "Akins" Akintobi
Guitar: Berkley "Ike" Jones
Vocals: Berkley "Ike" Jones, Laolu "Akins" Akintobi, Mike "Gbenga" Odumosu (tracks 01 to 10)

By MasterFunk


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