Wednesday, June 7, 2017

SJOB Movement - 1974 - A Move In The Right Direction

SJOB Movement 
A Move In The Right Direction

01 Country Love
02 No One Cares
03 You Only Live Once
04 Omo Oloro (To Nje Eyin Awo)
05 Stone Funk

Bass, Agogô, Percussion [Sekere] – Ottay Hima Blackie (Ehima Ottah)
Chorus – Roy Spiff, SJOB Movement
Guitar [Lead & Rhythm], Congas – Samuel Abiloye Esse
Lead Vocals, Drums, Bongos – Bolla Prince
Organ, Piano, Synthesizer [Moog] – Jonnie Woode Olimmah

Deep and spacey afro-funk rhythms from four heavy weight Nigerian musicians

Extreme Afro-Funk-Rock rarity. Aside from a few scattered blog entries, we’ve never seen this one given the attention it deserves. One track from their second LP was included on Soundway’sNigeria Disco Funk Special compilation from last year. Some deep and spacey afro-funk rhythms from four heavy weight Nigerian musicians, and the first ever reissue of their 1974 classic album! ....

The album liner notes has an interesting introduction to the album and group setting telling how musicians were often extremely exploited and never credited (Fela kuta and James Brown were mentioned, with Fela living a slavery-owner like leadership, with one exception of a recording as a first compromise to the poor boys). It says Nigeria was one of the worst countries for band members making a strong distinction between lead singers and “band boys”. One initiative of some talented backing musicians, being tired of all the exploitations (for them at that time as the Ozziddi boys backing band for singer Okosuns), resulted into the formation of the SJOB Movement band. In this case they promoted a “band” feeling with no egalitarian structure. The good thing about it is that each member had all the freedom to develop psychedelic instrumentations, with the possibilities of solos which were adapted into a group sound. Mixed with a funky groove and Afro-rhythmic variations this surely worked successfully. Included is not only an organ, but also a Moog synthesizer with strange psychedelic effects and additional keyboard variations, some fuzz guitar and the African percussion. The album is very much a studio album under best conditions, showing a steady concept with a success mixture of groove, song and musical expressiveness, the psych factor. The song foundation remains, as well as the funky edge, enough time is given to instrumental parts too, showing the best of each element, tightly packaged into the strong group sound.

After this album, again according to the liner notes, the band began to embrace several different music genres. Some differences in tastes by the members were finally breaking the entity apart, only to be regrouped again in 1981, resulting in some after stories further explained further in the same liner notes.

Heavy heady funk from the 70s Nigerian scene – a wicked little record that's unlike anything else we've heard before! SJOB is a combo made from ex-members of the group of Sonny Okosuns – all top-shelf players who've clearly got their chops down in the groove department, but are also really willing to experiment with their sound as well! There's some hip spacey elements to the music – cool keyboards that weave in and out of the guitar and tighter rhythms – creating a sense of darkness that's totally great, even when things are still pretty funky. The structure of the tunes is far from familiar Afro Funk too – pretty offbeat and jagged – familiar rhythms one minute, then fresh ones the next! Titles include "Countrylove", "No One Cares", "Stone Funk", "Omo Oloro", and "You Only Live Once". (Great reissue – on heavy vinyl, with a bonus insert too!)

SJOB Movement's "A Move in the Right Direction" from 1974 is a wonderfully offbeat record, sure there are funky Afrobeat grooves for miles on here, but what makes this album really special is its off-kilter qualities. There's a heavy, introspective vibe at times, enhanced by swirling synth and keyboard sounds fairly unique in the region and era; it sounds far deeper and spacier than anything we've heard coming out of 1970s Nigeria.



  2. Thank you Drago!