Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Osibisa - 1976 - Ojah Awake

Ojah Awake

01. Coffee Song (3:16)
02. Warrior (3:45)
03. Flying Bird (4:50)
04. Cherry Field (4:29)
05. Dance the Body Music (3:56)
06. Ojah Awake (4:56)
07. Keep on Trying (5:28)
08. Hamattan    (6:06)
09. Sakabo (4:01)

- Teddy Osei / Fllute, Percussion
- Wendel Richardson / Guitar, Drums, Vocals
- Mac Tontoh / Trumpet,
- Sol Amarfio / Drums,
- Kofi Ayivor / Congas, African Drums.
- Kiki Gyan / Keyboards, Vocals
- Mike Odrumusu / Bass

Osibisa's second album for the Bronze label saw them moving in an ever more commercial direction. The drive for the change came primarily from the record label, and resulted in this album containing no less than three successful singles.

The opening "Coffee song", which has been recorded by many artists before including Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney(!), is a mildly amusing but untypical (or the band) Caribbean pop song. With lyrics such as "There's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil. no tea or tomato juice..", the frivolity soon becomes obvious. The following "Warrior" is more in line with what might be expected, but is still very much focused on the singles market. The third single "Dance the body Music" is a disposable KC and the Sunshine Band like song, clearly intended for discos.

It's only when we get into the third track, "Flying bird (Anoma)" that we find a song of substance. This relaxed, mellow ballad has smooth written all over it. Muted trumpet and harmonic backing vocals create the lush atmosphere of a George Benson serenade. The highlight of the album though is the Santana inspired "Sakabo" or "Burnt rice" to give it its English language title. This upbeat rhythmic piece features uplifting vocal chants, incisive brass, and some excellent guitar work.

The remaining tracks, including the more traditional title song which has a "West African sing-a-long feel", are by and large orthodox Osibasa songs. They have little relationship with prog, but are fine examples of their own genre.
In all a spirited, sometimes inspired album. Not really one for the prog devotee, but some of the songs are certainly worthy of investigation.


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  2. Thanks so much, Valorie! I hope you have time to make one, and that you enjoy!! Visit: Awake Singles