Excellent recording! The songs are long, intricate and interesting, and show the great interplay and communication within the band. Your listening attentively to instrumental sections, not realizing Fela hasn't even begun singing yet. Some songs can arguably even be longer without weakening the presence and delivery of the track.
Another incredible example of why this man was the undisputed King /originator of Afrobeat - the tracks here are among his finest from the early/mid 70's period, and still can't be improved upon today. (The only other giant within this genre is King Sunny Ade, but his presence came much later). Fela, along with his accomplice Tony Allen on drums, made an infectious hybrid of African soul-funk-jazz that would make George Clinton sound like Neil Diamond (and I state this because his rhythms anchored, fragmented, staggered and time-stopped the beat in such a way that Fela's music would never sound the same without Tony's presence, much in the same way Miles Davis' music with the 60's Quintet would never be what it was without the driving force phenomenon of Tony Williams on drums).
Percolating horns that sound like a synchronized elephant herd choir, slinky rhythms that snake and coil organically enough to bring the dead back to life for one last hip-shaking dance, rhythm guitars that would make James Brown envious enough to go home and beat his woman, and elusive percussion that doesn't dictate time so much as it suspends it in a buoyant sea of rhythmic copulation - Good God, does it better than this? No joke, my friends, this stuff makes Parliament sound like the Partridge Family. If you think you love funk and don't own a fistful of Fela's LP's, you're sitting in the dark. If you think Prince or Usher is dance music, I'm sorry to say you're delusional; these guys are charlatans in comparison to the splendor and majesty that was the genius of Fela Kuti. Illuminate your mind, liberate your limbs and purchase a bunch of his cd's (read my other reviews for suggestions) and watch how quickly the lights come on.
Each and every track here is a timeless treasure, produced and played perfectly, worthy of a hundred listenings at a minimum. And there's a diversity of moods within these tracks - some typically dense, energetic outings synonymous with his work, some mid-tempo workouts and 'Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake AM' is probably the most thoughtful, ethereally beautiful slow groove I've ever heard. Again, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, but this stuff makes anything and everything you've ever heard on 'Soul Train' sound like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And people think 'American Idol' is music... it makes me sick to think how far off-compass we've come...
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This album is so good that behind the five stars another ten is lining up, in case one of the others fail to shine hard enough! It contains four great tracks, and that's 55 minutes of vintage Fela. You get the frentic, ass-shaking groove of "Roforofo fight", the 17 minute afrobeatmonster that is "Go Slow", one of my favourite Fela tracks, you get "Shenshema" and the beautiful "Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am", carried by one of the sweetest grooves Fela made.
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