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Best of the Black President (Dig)

66 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 26, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Best Of The Black President signifies the rebirth of Knitting Factory Records. Earlier in 2009, KFR licensed the 45 album Fela Kuti catalog. Over the next 18 months, remasters of all the Fela CD's will be re-released in unique digi-paks with the original artwork. KFR will also re-release all the titles on vinyl for the first time in North America. Additionally, KFR will be giving the first official release to the entire Koola Lobitos catalogue--this was Fela's highlife band which he fronted through the 60's.

Best Of The Black President compiles 13 of the most popular Fela compositions.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Lady
  2. Shakara
  3. Gentleman [Edit Version] [Version]
  4. Water No Get Enemy [Edit Version] [Version]
  5. Zombie
  6. Sorrow Tears and Blood
  7. No Agreement, Pt. 2

Disc: 2

  1. Roforofo Fight
  2. Shuffering and Shmiling, Pt. 2
  3. Coffin for Head of State, Pt. 2
  4. I T T, Pt. 2
  5. Army Arrangement, Pt. 2
  6. O.D.O.O. [Edit Version] [Version]

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 26, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: October 26, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Knitting Factory
  • ASIN: B002OPZ30G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,372 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Meathook Williams on August 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
When Fela Kuti passed away a couple of years ago, Africa lost perhaps it's paramount musical artist. The death was AIDS related and served to further underscore the deep tragedy of that disease's stranglehold on the continent. Many governments in Africa were in official denial of it's spread, as the World Health Organization was to find over the years to it's horror. This is precisely the sort of thing that Fela railed against throughout his life. He was the most visible artist in Africa partly because of his constant struggle with the successive governments in his Nigeria. At one point, he fenced in his home and yard and proclaimed it to be the independant nation, "The Kalakuta Republic". Suffice to say, this didn't increase his popularity with the authorities. Thoughout his life he was beaten, imprisoned, and burned out of his home. His mother was thrown from a window, and eventually died as a result. So, if he was often a difficult person, it's all but impossible not to sympathize with his plight. He was uncompromising, but always positive. He cared. Western ears were, for the most part, introduced to Fela's music through his Fela Ransome-Kuti and Africa 70 as a result of a collaboration with Cream drummer Ginger Baker. At the time, the only other music stars from Africa that got any exposure here in the States were Miriam Mekeba and Michael Olatunji (now Babatunde Olatunji). Yers later, fela re-christened himself Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, "the one who holds death in his pouch". He married prodigiously, once marrying twenty-seven women at once. And most of them performed in his act, often swelling the number on stage to fifty or more. Though he was adept with many instruments, those who saw his concerts will mostly recall his prowling the stage, or even the audience.Read more ›
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By C. Moon on January 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This album earns a 5 because its Fela, not because the selection is representative or exhaustive. As noted elsewhere, the 'part 2' indicator means you are missing the brilliant solos which often build for over ten minutes. I guess if you must make one and only one Fela purchase, this isn't bad, but you should instead start picking up the individual albums and hear these fantastic songs the way they were meant to be heard.
I honestly believe that if Fela had been born anywhere else and if his music had not been actively supressed in Nigeria, he would be among one of the most famous names in music. His use of extended structure, his hybridizing of native musics, jazz and reggae elements, as well as an incredible sensibility when it came to highly memorable dance tunes--all of these mark Fela and his band as one of most outstanding artistic collectives of the second half of the 20th century. The fact it has taken this long for his music to get reissued is only indicative of the revisionist nature of music history. One can only hope that in the 21st century everyone will need to know Fela.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Keir H. Fogarty on March 31, 2003
Format: Audio CD
What to say about this music? This is funk in the truest sense of the word--funk that gets your body moving and grooving of its own will--funk that grips with the issues of Fela's Nigeria in the most potent, life affirming way--In many ways this funk is better than James Brown, because whereas James Brown sang about Papa's brand new bag and hot pants, Fela tackled issues in his songs like freedom and preservation of his african heritage--often at the risk of assasination by the corrupt Nigerian governments that he railed against--Fela wasn't afraid of life--he dove into it--you can hear that in the music--the only thing I can possibly say bad about this album is that my fave Fela song, "Kalakuta Show" doesn't make an appearance--Fela is to Africa what Bob Marley is to Jamaica---a legend, an unbelievable musician, and a positive role model
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By doctormanny on July 5, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The "Afrobeat" music of Fela Kuti is highly infectious and addicting. The lyrics frequently are full of anger and rage about political and racial injustices, and the music is always both hard edged and hypnotic. Trust me, you can't listen to this music passively--it's so engaging that you can help but rock your body to the groove. Fela Kuti was a giant in the history of African "world music" and as many other reviewers have noted, his status is on par with the likes of Bob Marley, John Coltrane, and James Brown, in terms of how he pushed the envelope of his musical genre. It really is a crying shame that more people are not aware of this amazing artist. In my opinion "The Best of the Black President," which, by the way, actually is the exact same CD as "The Best Best of Fela Kuti" is the best of the Fela compilation CDs out there, with the Fela Kuti Anthology, Volume 2, being a close second. All of the songs are great. As others have noted, however, of the 13 songs on this double CD, 8 of them are presented in an edited or abridged form. This was necessitated by the fact that, in their original form, many of the songs were over 25 minutes long, which would have limited the number of songs on each disc to about three. None of the songs feels clipped, and since all but two of the songs run about 10 minutes or more, you probably would not perceive them as having been shortened. This CD may not be for purists, but it is a great introduction to the Afrobeat music of Fela Kuti, and I still listen to it periodically even though I subsequently have purchased many of the original recordings, most of which have been reissued in a "twofer" format (i.e., two original albums put together on one disk). Be forewarned, after listening to the edited versions of some of the songs on this CD, you may find yourself feeling compelled to get the originals and hear the extended jamming that is not included here. Highly, highly recommended.
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Best of the Black President (Dig)
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