Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Osibisa - 1975 - Welcome Home

Welcome Home

01. Sunshine Day (5:00)
02. Welcome Home (4:22)
03. Densu (5:23)
04. Chooboi (Heave Ho!) (5:10)
05. Do It (Like It Is) (4:24)
06. Right Now    (3:11)
07. Seaside - Meditation (5:18)
08. Uhuru (3:27)
09. Kolomashie (4:35)

- Jean-Karl Dikoto Mandengue / Bass, Guitar (Bass)
- Mike Odumusu / Bass, Guitar (Bass), Vocals
- Teddy Osei    / Flute, Percussion, Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor), African - Drums, Vocals
- Wendel Richardson / Guitar (Acoustic), Vocals, Guitar
- Mac Tontoh / Percussion, Flugelhorn, Prensa, Didjeridu, Trumpet
- Ray Allen / Vibraphone
- Sol Amarfio / Percussion, Drums, Bells, Conga, Bongos
- Kofi Ayivor / Percussion, Conga
- Robert Bailey / Vibraphone
- Paul Golly / Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm)
- Kiki Gyan / Organ, Clavinet, Keyboards, Clarinet, Piano
- Barbara Thompson / Vibraphone

Recorded in late 1975 and early 1976, Osibisa's seventh album "Welcome home" comes some time after the period which saw them dabble in prog territories. That said, the sound here is not really that different to their early 70's work, but it is generally more accessible and commerical. Prior to recording this album, the band moved from Warner Brothers to the Bronze label, as Bronze managed the band anyway (hence their appearance on Uriah Heep's "Look at yourself").

The opening "Sunshine day" points the way forward, a well known and highly successful single. The funky, simple, repetitive pop may be enjoyable, but it is a million miles from anything you might expect to find on this site.

There is certainly a pleasant, perhaps surprising diversity to the album which strays well away from the Ghanaian roots of the band. "Chooboi (Heave Ho!)" for example has fine harmonies over Chicago like horns and some appealing organ work too. Those Ghanaian influences do however come to the fore regularly. "Densu" is an African fishermen's song which lists all the varieties of fish which can be caught in the river, in the form of an incessant chant.

"Welcome home" is the most surprising track. This soft acoustic piece is almost a ballad, the accomplished vocal performance being sympathetically accompanied by some fine flute.

After a couple of light pop songs, including the Temptations like "Do it (like this)", the closing tracks finally move into slightly more experimental territory. "Uhuru" veers towards jazz/fusion with the band improvising around the main theme. " Seaside - Meditation" too is somewhat more varied than what precedes it, with tribal rhythms and diverse melodies combining well.

It is difficult to evaluate this album for a site such as this. Taken in isolation it is accomplished and diverse, with ethnic chants and rhythms combining well with funk and pop.

1 comment:

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