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Drums of Passion Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, July 30, 2002
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Media Type: CD
Street Release Date: 07/30/2002
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 30, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00006B1RI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,314 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Listened back to from the vantage point of a world exposed to several glorious decades of "world music," this stark set of percussion-based songs by Nigerian expatriate Babatunde Olatunji may seem a bit plain and untextured. Still, the fact that it's sold over five million copies since it first came out in 1960 shows that there was a hunger among the American record buying public for something new, and more importantly, something authentic. By the time Olatunji's album came out, the jazz world had already spent over a decade searching for some "new sound" or another to inject into the mix: mambo-inspired Latin riffs swept through the bebop scene in the late '40s, grandiose composers such as Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington had pawed through the cutures of Cuba, Spain, Asia and Brazil, looking for new melodies and modes to work with. But, as they say, there's nothing like the real thing. Olantuji's primally arrangely drumming, with its brusque muscularity and vibrant call-and-response chants, certainly delivered the goods on that front. The album's euphoric new liner notes place this release, a bit preposterously, at the center of all "world music-y" changes in jazz, rock and pop (even ahistorically claiming its seminal influence on Brazilian "batucada" drumming)... The triumphalist tone of the author can be taken with a grain of salt, but this album certainly marks a major landmark in the history of global musical culture... And fans of African drumming will be dazzled to hear the brightly remastered sound of the newly-expanded CD version. Definitely worth checking out!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ben on April 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When I first listened to this CD, I was impressed. The second time I listened to it, I was even more impressed. It just keeps getting better. All the songs on here are great. They have a great feel to them - they are upbeat and happy. You'll have these songs stuck in your head all day. The drumming on here is complex and interesting. It keeps you listening. The vocals are all in an African language, and I think this is very pleasant to listen to. Although it doesn't say, I believe this CD is in HDCD format. I first heard about this CD in National Geographic magazine in the section called 'My Seven.' The Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart discussed his favorite world music CD's and this was one of them. I am more of a rock fan, but I greatly appreciate instumental music. I started liking instrumental music even more after I bought this CD. So overall, this great CD has opened my eyes to a world of great music. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a jazz fan or any instrumental music fan. Also for anyone who just wants something to have something to relax to, or even to a Grateful Dead fan (if you like their "Drums").
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Delite Rancher VINE VOICE on July 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Before World Music existed as a genre, Babatunde Olatunji released this ground breaking disc. During the 1960's, anybody with an appreciation for music beyond the ordinary adored this recording. Like Mickey Hart, my father acquired a vinyl copy when it came out. He passed this first pressing onto a grateful son. While I enjoy Olatunji's landmark debut, I also have a balanced appreciation. While historically important, "Drums of Passion" is now very dated. While the integrity is timeless, the 1959 production is not. Nowadays, this recording sounds like a cross between an old field recording and the soundtrack to a black and white era film. Compared to the selections with vocals, the instrumental passages have best stood the test of time. The rhythmic arrangements, phrasing and improvisation will always shine. That aside, "Drums of Passion" just isn't as listenable as Olatunji's later material. I hypothesize that for some unknown reason, most who appreciate this debut never delve further into Olatunji's discography. While Babatunde Olatunji may have influenced Mickey Hart to become a rhythmic visionary, Hart completed the circle by producing Olatunji's best recordings: "The Invocation" and "The Beat." "Drums of Passion" is an essential but dated album and to award it five stars suggests that it is Olatunji's paragon recording. That's ashame since far from being the alpha and omega, "Drums of Passion" is the beginning.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Gustafson on June 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the most entertaining recordings ever made. Now, in a historical sense, it probably is an important document for the dissemination of knowledge of world music. And it is also true that Babatunde Olatunji went on to have a quite distinguished and prolific career after making this recording, and that his later recordings may be more authentic in an academic sense.

There is another way of approaching this record, though. Though "world music" the way *we* understand it was somewhat hard to find in the USA in 1959, "exotica" was not. Exotica was a sort of lounge pop jazz that mixed Afro-Cuban rhythms with "Polynesian" style melodies to create tropical atmosphere and mood music for the tiki-bar era. It's a genre associated with Esquivel, Yma Sumac, Arthur Lyman, Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and many more artists from the period. Some of these exotica performances are still campy and entertaining, but the string and pedal steel guitar arrangements can become cloying and embarrassing after a while.

Placed in this context, this record stands head and shoulders above its contemporaries. Afro-Cuban rhythms, of course, come from Nigeria and West Africa. Babatunde Olatunji was well prepared to meet that demand. For the contemporary listener, this recording is obviously better because Olatunji strips out all of the sappy strings and corny arrangements that make 1950s exotica so cringe-worthy.

And leaving aside issues of ever-elusive "authenticity", Babatunde Olatunji was a first class showman and entertainer, and that's the side that makes this recording one of his best known and best liked. Again, with the very basic presentation of his large drum ensemble, his virile and overstated presentation turns up the energy.
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