Hard to go wrong with a set like this – because in our opinion, just about every track recorded by Fela is a "best" – which makes the collection a massive batch of goodness all the way through! Every track here is presented in its original extended version – a dozen massive slices of Afro Funk, which packaged together equal the equivalent of at least 5 or 6 separate albums by Fela – another factor that makes the collection a great one! The 2CD set is filled with gems that helped redefine the sound of funk, soul, and world music back in the 70s – titles that include "Monkey Banana", "Everything Scatter", "Expensive Sh*t", "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am", "Underground System (part 2)", "Sorry Tears & Blood", "Colonial Mentality", "Yellow Fever", "He Miss Road", "Black Man's Cry", "Mr Follow Follow", and "Na Poi". Also features a bonus DVD – with Fela's 1984 performance at the Glastonbury Festival, and an interview too! CD
The original take of "Army Arrangement" – one of the greatest 80s grooves from Fela Kuti – stretched out here over the course of the entire album! The notes list side one as being the "instrumental" and side two as the "vocal" – but in truth, the whole thing moves across the space of the album together – with the band building up into tremendous energy as they get started, then Fela coming in for some very powerful lyrics that take the Nigerian government to task for its very corrupt practices. And of course, the music is fantastic – sharp, funky, and filled with this intensity that never lets up! LP, Vinyl record album
One of the most compelling Fela albums of the 70s – and one that's got a very different feel than some of his others. The album features one long track – "Coffin For Head Of State" – and although the track still has the usual Fela staples of horn riffs, chopping vamps, and electric piano – it's also got a sad dirge-like sound that is incredibly soulful, and filled with sorrowful emotion that you don't normally catch on Fela's albums. Side two is especially great – as it's mostly instrumental, and features some great interplay between a spacey electric piano and the horn section. LP, Vinyl record album
An amazing album-length jam from Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – recorded on the group's home turf at Kalakuta, and with this stretched-out building of energy that's completely amazing! James Brown may have created the longform funky style of vamping and soloing – but Fela takes it here to the next level, and adds in a fantastic political message too – all with this sound that's extremely powerful, but with an intimate feel too – thanks to the crowd noises around the space of the recording! LP, Vinyl record album
Fela & Africa 70 —
No Agreement ... LP KnittingFactory, 1978. New Copy (reissue)...
A killer from the classic years, and one of Fela's best albums! "No Agreement" is a super great groover – with a catchy hook that goes on and on, and some very tasty playing by Tony Allen and the group. The track is long, with heavy solos, and vocals that will knock you out! Lester Bowie guests on the track, and Fela's on piano, tenor, and alto. Also includes the cut "Dog Eat Dog", which is a slammin instrumental, with a very tasty groove! LP, Vinyl record album
Fela & Africa 70 —
VIP ... LP KnittingFactory, 1979. New Copy (reissue)...
A searing live set from Fela Kuti & Afrika 70 – a long album-length jam, recorded in Berlin – with the group really going to town in instrumental frenzy topped with very righteous lyrics! VIP doesn't have the usual meaning here – as it stands for "vagabonds in power", and is a searing attack on the Nigerian government at the time – one that has plenty of power from a lyrical perspective, but which really soars to the heavens as Fela and the group stretch the whole thing out over riffing guitar, driving percussion, and some incredible horn solos too! LP, Vinyl record album
One of the best soul collaborations ever! Fela and Roy Ayers team up for this whopping album that brings together the best sides of these monster soul talents of the 70s! In keeping with Fela's work, the tracks are long and Afro-tinged, with a complicated groove that grows over the length of the track. And in keeping with Roy's work, the album has a sweet soulful feel, with lots of nice jazzy touches, cool vibes, and great vocals by Roy. Two long tracks, both classics: "2000 Black" and "Africa, Center of the World". Long overdue! LP, Vinyl record album
Fela & Africa 70 —
Yellow Fever ... LP KnittingFactory, 1976/1999. New Copy (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A really killer 70s album from Fela Kuti – one that serves up a hell of a message, and some great slinky grooves too! "Yellow Fever" is a brutal attack on miscegenation, backed by a funky groove that makes the whole thing fall into place with an amazing riffing sound – bold, powerful, and Afrika 70 at their best! "Na Poi 75" begins with a cool spoken bit – then moves into this pulsating keyboard part which is almost eerily spare, until the rest of Afrika 70 come into the mix and really funk things up! Drums are wonderfully skittish – kind of double-snapping, while the bassline dips nicely below – and the tune ebbs and flows in this really great way. LP, Vinyl record album
One of Fela's greatest albums – and one of the few that got any sort of international circulation in the 70s! "Zombie" shows Fela at the height of his powers – grooving away in incredibly fast, incredibly tight Afro Funk lines, weaving guitar, sax, and keyboards together with a speed that still leaves us breathless. No wonder the track had a history of causing riots when it was played! "Mr Follow Follow" is a bit mellower, but even stronger on the message tip, and graced with a sublime snakey sax solo. LP, Vinyl record album
Late Fela – but great Fela! Underground System was released in 1992, but it sounds like Fela's best work from the late 70s – grooving away at a triple-time beat on two incredible tracks, "Underground System" and "Pansa Pansa". "Pansa Pansa" is especially great, as it's got these Cecil Taylor-esque piano lines over funky beats at the beginning – very odd, but very groovy! LP, Vinyl record album
Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II is a powerhouse here on drums – working his way over the kit with a massive sense of force, even when things are mellow – clearly employing a wide variety of elements to keep his sound open and fresh! There's only one number here that features solo drums from Donald – and the rest are all longer tracks, each featuring a key contribution from an established member of the downtown scene – Elliott Sharp on guitar, Bill Laswell on bass, and Vernon Reid on guitar – who each duet with McKenzie on a number apiece, and really bring sort of an old school, almost KnittingFactory vibe to the set. And by that, we mean that classic venue in the 80s – at a time when everything it and its musicians were doing was very fresh and creative! Titles include "Elektra Jagger McKenzie", "Akai Gurley", "Ramarley Graham, and "Natasha McKenna". LP, Vinyl record album