Saturday, October 18, 2014

O.P.M.C. - 1971 - Product of Pisces and Capricorn

Product of Pisces and Capricorn

01. Wordless Man
02. Big Stage Actress
03. Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway
04. Atempted Explanation
05. Try And Buy A Try
06. Love Song For Diane
07. The Days That Franulka Danced
08. Second Try
09. Molotov Mary
10. You Will Find A Way
11. Amsterdam

Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals – Barrie Webb, Teun van der Slikke
Bass, Keyboards, Cello – Peter v.d. Sande*
Bassoon – Frank van Leer
Drums – Frank v. Tijn*, Max Spangenburg
Oboe – Saskia Boekschoten

An even more tuneful set than the first record from OPMC – one that features shorter tunes with a bit more lyrical appeal – and this style of dreamy harmonizing that almost reminds us of the best early Atlantic work from The Bee Gees! The settings here are simpler – mostly a mix of acoustic guitar with well-crafted basslines and drums that give things just enough kick – and although the group are Dutch, lyrics are all in English – and pretty captivating too.

O.P.M.C. - 1970 - Amalgamtion


01. Ouverture
02. I'll Just Sit Here And Dream
03. Balad Of The Sun
04. The Head
05. Sick And Tired
06. Train Thing
07. Easter Song
08. Cambridge Impressions
09. Song For Mariolijn
10. Fire Child
11. Communication Breakdown Blues

Barrie "Barry" Webb (vocals, guitar)
Herman Erbé (vocals, guitar)
Teun van der Slikke (vocals, harmonica, guitar)

Bass, Piano – Peter Van Der Sande
Drums – Mighty-Max
Guitar, Psaltery – Herman Erbe
Vocals, Harp, Psaltery, Autoharp, Guitar – Teun Van Der Slikke
Lead Guitar – Onny Lopulalan (tracks: 4)

Very Good psychedelic folk bluesy with long tracks full of 60's vibe and drugged-out spacy guitar!!Though this is usually classified as a Dutch rock album by the few collectors who are aware of it, this early-‘70s LP in fact seems like a more natural emulation of British (and sometimes American) folk-rock music than many such productions of the era from Continental Europe.

In this case, there’s a good reason for that, as O.P.M.C. featured the talents of a Scotsman (Barrie Webb), along with those of Teun van der Slikke. The LP is fair, though not outstanding, folk and folk-rock with a moody streak and a stylistic unevenness that almost create the impression of being the work of more than one artist.

Sometimes it offers pastoral hippie musings, à la “I’ll Just Sit Here and Dream” and “Ballad of the Sun,” almost as if they’re trying to be a poppier Incredible String Band. “Easter Song,” by contrast, sounds like the late-‘60s Hollies trying to go a little folkier. Some of the brittle guitar work on “The Head” and “Fire Child” makes it seem not unlikely that Love’s Forever Changes could have been something of an influence. Yet more territory is covered by the Creedence Clearwater Revival-flavored blues-country-rock of “Sick and Tired,” and the Sonny Terry-like blues harmonica-motored instrumental “Train Thing.” It’s an undoubtedly diverse effort that lacks distinction more due to its average material than its eclectic scope.

Karuna Khyal - 1974 - Alomoni 1985

Karuna Khyal
Alomoni 1985

Side A
01. 24-32 (24:32)
Side B
02. 22-30 (22:30)

- Yoshihiro Takahashi / all instruments

KARUNA KHYAL was one of the most obscure bands of the Japanese psychedelic rock scene. Some claim the outfit was a one-man project by Yoshihiro Takahashi, others that it was formed with him and his "druggie" family...but now nobody knows a lot about him/them.

They released their one and only album "Alomoni 1985" in 1976 - the music style of which is often compared to FAUST or other Krautrock bands - one of milestones of Japanese psychedelic scene. Unfortunately it's said they broke up the following year and there's no knowledge about them after that.

1999 saw the unearthing of another coveted relic, thanks to the efforts of Paradigm Disc's Clive Graham. As with the label's reissues of (the possibly related) Brast Burn's Debon, Trevor Wishart's Menagerie and The Reverend Dwight Frizzell & Anal Magic's Beyond the Black Crack, Karuna Khyal's Alomoni 1985 is something very special - unburied treasure, indeed. The MO is thoroughly corrupted rock n' roll, steeped in ragtag R&B and crisscrossed by croaked vocal mantras and deliriously dizzy slide guitar. On the first of the albums two 20+ minute fractured tracks of rambunctious, bass-led "song," Alomoni 1985 invites comparisons to nothing less than a low-rent Faust Tapes - less dependent upon Faust's bucolic demeanor and rigorous studio-as-instrument directive - or a particularly gone Magic Band outtake (free from the Captain's authoritarian censorship). And while KK is at least more deserving of the "Japanese Faust" descriptive misleadingly bestowed upon Brast Burn, even this seems bluntly dismissive of a unique, remarkably potent brand of madness. Liberally laced as it is with dated Canned Heat-isms, copious shofar-squawk harmonica riffing, grim oompah/cosmic jug-band plod, smears of visceral feedback, and truly insidious tape-work, Alomoni 1985 is most uncannily analogous to the early catalog of Hapshash & The Coloured Coat, which directly inspired the first communal stirrings of Krautrock.

Heaping historical complication upon confusion, the smoking second half of Alomoni 1985 winds through a noisy tribal exorcism-cum-hoedown. With a bacchanalian commotion of scrappy percussion, a dozen shades of vocal damage (overtone chants, wordless mumbling, tuneless singing, raucous whoops and hollers), gusts of modulated (wind? synth?) noise, and spurts of volatile, psychedelicized improv, KK bursts through the free-music barrier - albeit in a stomping, stumbling Cro-Magnon fashion. No-Neck Blues Band adherents take note. Surviving lore about KK, however, places Alomoni 1985 quite a few years earlier (maybe), in Japan (maybe), with an unknown (maybe), substantially more menacing quantity either cut adrift of its contemporaneous musical timeline or orbiting decades ahead of such. But consider that such modern concerns as Ectogram, Ulan Bator, Ghost, and all aforementioned and kindred souls could have stickered their names on the cover of Alomoni 1985 without anyone batting an eye. It just doesnt add up, does it?

In fact, so many questions concerning KK persist that the CD tray includes a plea (from Mr. Graham!) for any information about this enigmatic crew. Alomoni 1985 may lack the provenance needed to calibrate its actual historical import, but the album remains a compelling oddity - brash, bristling, baffling, and all but inexplicable. One is left wondering what might have become of Karuna Khyal, whatever year's model Alomoni 1985 represents.
Side A 24-32

Eccentric sounds with a twisted guitar and religious percussions & voices have come now! We can have a feeling that something bad would happen - with very solemn, weird, and eerie sounds. Realizing that this music style should be Oriental and of Buddhism, we might come close to be absorbed the weirdness. But don't be deceived. Time's gonna change soon about 3 1/2 minutes later. Suddenly extremely repetitive quiet banjo, stable percussions, and uncomfortable voice over some effectors are around us. Not only this, scenes are altering so rapidly. Here come some growling and bells ringing with the recorded tape slowly or reversely played For these sounds, somebody might say KARUNA KHYAL was of Japanese Krautrock like Faust. However, I do suggest they (he?) should be more influenced by drugs, druggy lives, and drug abuses than Krautrock scene. Such druggie, speedy, and freaky explosions could be born otherwise.

Side B 22-30

More aggressively artifactual noises, process voices repeating Alomoni, O-chow, Gaow, and various meaningless (senseless?) words, and heavy bass sounds can rush toward and run over us. I'm sure, of all in the side, the most important element is the heavy bass. This rhythmical bass sounds can remind us the trip for Buddhism. How? You can feel you repeat the words of Buddha, can't you? About 11 1/2 minutes later, eccentric and crazy guitar sounds and much crazier voices (with cries of a baby and dandling of a father...?) should take us into another sky. We should dance to the druggie noise without our intention whether we misunderstand or not. At last, we should have a vacant feeling with the last quiet air. And go out like the outfit...

Caution! This album is a real drug, not a cranky work...but highly recommended as a drug.

Brush!? - 1971 - Brush!?


01. The People Of Glass
02. Foolish Guy
03. Mother Nature's Sun
04. To Reiko
05. Day Break (Bridge Is Drumming)
06. Tears Of Child
07. Die A Dog's Death (In Vain)
08. Tomb Stone
09. Tilanga (Including Sprite)
10. Grey Hound Bus
11. All Most Cut Your Hair (Including I Did Cut My Hair)

Masayoshi Takanaka (vocals, guitar, bass, piano), Michio Ara (vocals, electric guitar), Toru Hatano (guitar, keyboards, organ, drums, vocals), Keizo Ishiyama (bass, vocals), Hitoki Goto (rhythm guitar, bass), Hoko Ide (organ, piano), Donand Dog III (vocals, piano), Akira Asami (piano), Takefumi Yoshida (sitar), Kenichi Sato (tambura), Oshine (drums), Humio Mori (drums)

The original private pressing from Japan was so far one of the unsolved mysteries which appeared first in the 3001 book from Hans Pokora. It´s so rare that it took nearly 2 years to locate the album. This is Masayoshi Takanaka`s (pre Flied Egg) ever first recording, released as a tiny private pressing in Japan.

The music is westcoast orientated hard psych with a progressive touch. All original material and really wellproduced. This is a concept album (like Ceremony) which comes (like the original) on blue vinyl with 24 page massive booklet.

Kudos to Shadoks for searching this one out! We'd never have heard it otherwise, and we're glad we did. Dude from early '70s Japanese psychedelic proto-metallers Flied Egg (who sounded a bit like Blue Cheer, and recorded for Vertigo!), by the name of Masayoshi Takanaka, made his recording debut in 1971 (yup) with this rare rare rare album of underground hippy conceptual weirdness, called Brush!? (punctuation theirs, but deserved). Quite a few other Japanese psych scenesters of the day participated as well. Results? There's some truly freaked out shit here, and some really lovely, folky parts too.

It's an eclectic mix of the following ingredients, and more: acid fuzz guitar rockin', atonal electronic experiments, gentle pop grandeur, organ drones, raga-like jamming, avantgarde piano improv, Velvets/Dylan balladry, and West Coast/Woodstock Nation psych.

In other words, all over the place, and pretty darn tripped out!! Hearing reissues of interesting '70s Japanese psych acts like Brush!?, Flied Egg, Far Out, Foodbrain, Strawberry Path, Les Rallizes Denudes, etc. etc. it's clear that all the great psychedelic underground outfits active in Japan today, from Acid Mothers Temple to LSD-march to Green Milk From The Planet Orange to (of course) the Boredoms, are keeping alive a grand tradition begun some 30+ years ago!

Seriously, we're pretty sure that if you could just take one look inside this cd booklet, you'd want to hear the album! On one of the tracks, in addition to musician credits for sitar and tabura [sic], we see this: "Lafing [sic]: Elf, Fairly [sic], Goblin." and "Effects: Crow, Raven, Fowl, Triton." WTF?? The song titles are good too: "All Most Cut Your Hair (including) I Did Cut My Hair", "Die A Dog's Death (In Vain)", and "Tomb Stone".

Brast Burn - 1975 - Debon

Brast Burn 

01. Debon Part 1 (23:28)
02. Debon Part 2 (22:28)

BRAST BURN, one of the most obscure and the most mysterious outfits in Japan, burst with only one prochronistic album into Japanese psychedelic rock scene and soon disappeared from this world. There is another report that Nakano record shop, a Japanese local specialty store of Krautrock, released two psychedelic albums from the independent label Voice Records and after a short while went bankrupt because of their debt by these releases and promotions. Anyhow there is no information except the fact BRAST BURN could release their one and only album Debon in 1975 (or in late 1974) and an uncertain report BRAST BURN might be a solo project by Michiro Sakurai, a Japanese unknown artist.(By the way, the other album released by Nakano record shop is Alomoni 1985 by KARUNA KHYAL, and some claim Michiro Sakurai of BRAST BURN and Yoshihiro Takahashi of KARUNA KHYAL should be the identical person.)

Paradigm Discs later re-issued two albums by BRAST BURN and KARUNA KHYAL on CD simultaneously, but where not able to provide any more information about these outfits.

 Brast Burn's "Debon" album was first released on Voice Records in the mid-seventies and it wasn't until 1998 that Clive Graham's Paradigm label brought it to the surface once more. Apparently, it was remastered from the original vinyl, but don't be put off, Graham has done a fantastic remaster job, altogether with a great sleeve.

There is something more to add to the mystery when he asks if anyone has any information as to the whereabouts of the group, where the album was recorded etc.

The album is made up of two long pieces (you guessed it) "Debon parts 1 & 2". A faded in Synth pulse starts the album off which morphs into an orchestration of fuzzed Guitar, echo-drenched Percussives, reverbed Bass Guitar , Pianos, Acoustic Slide Guitars, Zithers and all manner of Taped sounds, slowly letting the rhythm set a steady pace for the Vocals to begin. Well now, the lead Vocals always make me smile! Friends of mine have always come up with some corking descriptions: 'Damo Suzuki on Crack' , 'James Brown in Space' and er...'Shaun Ryder's Dad'!

Whatever description they should have, one thing is for sure, the Vocals are certainly inspired. Whilst the rest of the ensemble weave a bobbing chant of what sounds like "shoo-am-I, Shoo-am-I, Shoo-am I Shoo", the lead Voice interjects with grunts and 'yeahs' whilst an Organ or Synth sounds like a cross between a bumblebee and a stylophone, all the time the lead Voice gets more strained, eventhough you can almost tell he is lying down!

Electronic wind sounds signal a different direction for the track now and is flagshipped by a sound which is made, I think, by (a Tape Loop of ?) reverbed Electric Guitar strings which are struck to make it sound like an odd sort of ritual bell. Flutes and Tin Whistles flutter to the wind electronics and Sleigh Bells, backing an almost out of tune Synth (of course, this makes it all the more strange!). Tinny sounding Taped Church Bells herald the last segment of 'Part 1' and a more positive rhythm from the Hand Drums then glides in with more infectious chanting before a small explosion brings it to a halt.

The second half of this extraordinary (monged?) record ("Debon part 2"!) begins with Acoustic Guitars circling a forgotten nursery rhyme toon along with a cuckoo sound and dogs barking in the near background, ushering in more Voice gruntings and some very strange sounds sliding to and fro, so many things happening but at the same time there is a good sense of space amongst all the sounds. A 12-string Guitar comes in to send things a little off-kilter whilst the Voices, dogs and cuckoos swirl around your head.

This is a must for headphones, it's like there was a bunch of seasoned stoners on an expedition along the vast ice carpets in the tundra, consigned to being totally lost but evoking their gods through herbs and music (okay, so it's a normal weekend for some!).

They've experimented with the Percussion to great effect, using it through various electrical processes and it's easy to see a line of evolution through to modern day Japanese groups especially Ghost and the more laid back material of the Acid Mothers family.

When Can discovered Damo Suzuki busking on a Munich street and asked him to join them all those years ago, I think there was an instant (kosmische) connection between Japan and the European left-field musics that started some sort of mystical lineage... hey! perhaps it's best NOT to listen to Brast Burn with headphones will certainly travel- that's for sure, and far out (man) at that...

Brast Burn are apparently linked with Karuna Khyal, some people say they were the same band, they had the next release on Voice Records and were also treated to the CD remaster courtesy of Paradigm, the album being "Alomoni 1985" and a more psychotic outing altogether!

If you enjoy Faust and Can (especially the E.F.S. sketches) and are partial to the aformentioned Ghost and Acid Mothers albums of recent years, then you'll certainly enjoy this music here and as I've already mentioned, all praise must go to Clive Graham for doing such a great job on the CD presentation. (Jim Tones)

Buldožer - 1977 - Zabranjeno Plakatirati

Zabranjeno Plakatirati

01. Ne brini, mama (6:50)
02. Dobro jutro, madam Jovanovic (9:13)
03. Helga (3:41)
04. Jeste li vidjeli djevojcice (6:41)
05. Doktore pomozite (3:46)

- Bele Boris / guitar, vocal
- Marko Brecelj / lead vocal
- Borut Činč / keyboards
- Tone Dimnik / drums
- Uros Lovsin / lead guitar
- Vili Bertok / bass

 After ground-breaking debut album "Pljuni istini u oci", BULDOZER had to cope with not so friendly cultural establishment, which was outraged by their acts and thus prohibited further printing of that album. During 1976 the band played on stage extensively in order to keep their fan base interested. Ironically, Marko Brecelj even won a prize called "Seven Secretaries of SKOJ" (SKOJ- Communist Youth Alliance of Yugoslavia during World War II) for his solo album "Cocktail" that typically used to be awarded to prominent socialist youth activists in the field of art and culture! In October 1976 "Zabranjeno plakatirati" (Eng. "Posting Forbidden") was recorded in Novi Sad, again under the auspices of the notorious PGP RTB label. For this occasion the band saw a change of rhythm section; Vili Bertok was new bassist while Tone Dimnik joined on drums. Then, a painful negotiations with PGP authorities continued - BULDOZER were required to change their alleged "pornographic" and "drug-inducing" lyrics (in one song they had to replace the word "nirvana" with "kafana" (meaning: "a coffee bar"), but to no avail. After waiting the whole year, they finally signed to more liberal label Helidon and the album appeared in late 1977.

In spite of very short duration of about 30 minutes, "Zabranjeno plakatirati" was another excellent album by BULDOZER. It continues in the vein similar to its predecessor, only this time psychedelic textures are more present. This is especially evident in "Ne brini, mama" ("Don't Worry Mama"), "Djevojcice" ("Girls") and "Dobro jutro, madamme Jovanovic" ("Good Morning Madam Jovanovic"), which are full of black humour and sarcasm. Musicianship is excellent and they delved more into psychedelic experimentation with heavy use of distorted organ and synth with firm guitar solos and riffs, while Brecelj offers his perhaps the best vocal performances for BULDOZER. A novelty of this album is presence of two shorter and rock-oriented tracks, presumably written as potential hits, and indeed they both were extremely popular during their hilarious live shows. "Helga" is satirical use of the socialist myth of the local Yugoslavian macho males offering sex services to German female tourists at Dalmatian coast. This song would appear in four different "versions" on their ultimate live experience "Ako ste slobodni veceras" few years later (Frank Zappa did similar thing to song "Black Page" on "Live in New York"). "Doktore pomozite" ("Help Me, Doctor") is another trademark BULDOZER song, with timeless lyrics ("Help me doctor/I am dying/My son is a discophile/He's got that LP record/Which corrupts our children").

This album is another remarkable achievement of BULDOZER and acts as fine example of Central-Eastern European avant/prog.

Buldožer - 1975 - Pljuni Istini U Oci

Pljuni Istini U Oci

01. Najpogodnije mjesto (0:46)
02. Zivot, to je feferon (7:34)
03. Sta to radis, Buldozeru jedan (8:51)
04. Blues gnjus (7:43)
05. Ljubav na prvi krevet (5:24)
06. Yes My Baby, No (8:39)

- Boris Bele / guitars, vocal
- Marko Brecelj / lead vocal
- Borut Činč / keyboards
- Uros Lovsin / lead guitar
- Stefan Jez / drums
- Andrej Veble / bass

BULDOZER was formed in early 1975 in Ljubljana, present Slovenia, when an avant-garde singer/songwriter Marko BRECELJ joined the band SEDEM SVETLOBNIH LET ("Seven Light Years") led by guitarist and lead vocalist Boris Bele. Apart from them, the original line-up included keyboardist/composer Borut Èinè, bassist Andrej Veble, lead guitarist Uros Lovsin and drummer Stefan Jez. They released their debut album "Pljuni istini u oèi" in December 1975 to shocking reactions of the public and music business authorities due to its twisted black humor filled with sarcasm, satire and touching "sensitive" issues of drugs or pornography. They also utilized the Zappa-like stage freak-out performances and ridiculed some generally accepted morals of the so-called socialist state of Yugoslavia. The cover sleeve of this album was designed as a magazine sheet (similar to JETHRO TULL's "Thick As A Brick") filled with funny and ridiculous social vignettes and some pornographic cartoons. After the first circulation was sold out, the recording label PGP RTB refused to print more copies. In 1976 they recorded the second album "Zabranjeno plakatirati" but due to their label's policy (the band had to modify their lyrics if they wanted to release the record) it was released only in late 1977, when they joined their hometown label Helidon. In the meantime, the rhythm section changed, so the bassist Vili Bertok and drummer Tone Dimnik participated in studio sessions. Brecelj left the band in 1979 to pursue solo career, while Bele-led BULDOZER embraced then popular punk and new wave aesthetics to gain enormous popularity across ex-Yugoslavia. New members in this period were guitarists Davor Slamnig, Janez Zmazek and drummer Dusan Vran. Highly eclectic studio album "Izlog jeftinih slatkisa", including a radio smash hit "Zene i muskarci", and double live record "Ako ste slobodni veèeras" are among the top-sellers of this era. Still, many of their song lyrics and stage theatricals are full of the local meanings and hard to comprehend outside of the scope of the post-titoist Yugoslavia. Along with his band activity Bele also worked as a chief music editor of Helidon label and succeeded in this period to purchase the copyrights of their debut from PGP RTB, so the reissue came up in 1981 to face very affirmative reviews. Their activity slowly diminished in mid-1980s, after the poor album "Nevino srce". Although they never officially broke-up, their "come-back" album "Noè" was released more than 10 years later, in 1995. BULDOZER was the first domestic rock band to release an album in a compact disc format in former Yugoslavia, not counting international imports - it was a compilation album "Nova vremena" in 1989.

First two albums "Pljuni istini u oèi" and "Zabranjeno plakatirati" are essential for avant-prog listeners who like slightly psychedelic moments with Hammond organ and "acid" guitar solos. Their lyrics and performance are quite anarchic and close to RIO movement. "Izlog jeftinih slatkisa" is a diverse collection of more accessible songs ranging from punk aggressiveness to pure psychedelic moments, while "Noè" presents a refreshed band of the 1990s that is also worth checking out.

BULDOZER's debut album was among the most revolutionary works of popular music issued in the former Yugoslavia. It came out in 1975 just to be withdrawn from the market shortly thereupon. It was so outrageous that PGP label refused to print more copies after the first circulation was quickly sold out.

The avant-garde nature of its expression is best detected from the lyrics, which are unfortunately not easy to translate into English. The title means roughly "Let's Face the Truth", while the cover sleeve is designed as a magazine page, in the vein similar to JETHRO TULL's "Aqualung", full of black humor, semi-pornographic strip- cartoons and ridiculous sarcastic "articles". The opening miniature "Najpogodnije mjesto" ("The Best Place") is Brecelj's lamentation "I am sorry sir, but I am not from this town, so I would like to know where is it here, ahem... the best place to commit suicide", backed by psyche bottleneck blues guitar. "Zivot to je feferon" ("Life Is But A Chili Pepper") is a highlight of psychedelic avant-prog, with strong Hammond, excellent guitar solo by Lovsin and vocal craziness of Brecelj. It is followed by equally stunning and slightly more aggressive masterpiece "Sto to radis, Buldozeru jedan" ("You Buldozer, What Are You Doing"), carrying a freaky story of a negligent character called Buldozer who ate a beef soup including cooked meat, just to face the revenge of a bull who complained "what are you doing?/you have been eating my mama!" What to say? - I mean, you have to be either a bit deranged or a pure genius to put such stuff onto a rock album!!! "Blues gnjus" is, believe it or not, a wonderfully played straight blues composition with -hmmm- not so straight lyrics. The Brecelj character here is an animal lover so that he welcomes all sorts of germs and bacteria into his head and body, where there is "enough blood for all of you, my dear beasties..." At the end, he cannot stand anymore and starts vomiting out into a toilet flusher... pure disgust! "Ljubav na prvi krevet" ("Love At First Bed") and "Yes My Baby, No" are two hilarious mockery of love and romance that it brings laugh to tears, with lyrical acrobatics and wordplay that is sadly restricted almost to South-Slav speaking people only.

The timeless nature of this unique album is best proved when, at the peak of New Wave explosion in 1981 in ExYU, the reissued "Pljuni istini u oci" this time by Helidon label, was again warmly received not only by the (punk and new wave) fans but also by critics and even general pop consumers. To my knowledge, this kind of freaky satire and humor can be found only in Frank Zappa's famous works of the mid-1970s. This album is a must for every respected prog collector!

Assagai - 1971 - Zimbabwe


01. Barazinbar (Havard)
02. Wanga (Mdenge)
03. La La (Mdenge)
04. Dalani (Pukwana)
05. Bayeza (Mdenge)
06. Sanga (Field)
07. Come Along (Mdenge)
08. Kinzambi (Duhig)


Louis Moholo (drums)
Dudu Pukwana (Alto / Piano)
Mongezi Feza (Trumpet)
Terri Quaye (Congas)
Bizo Mngikana (tenor)

 Congas – Smiley De Jonnes
 Vocals – Martha Mdenge
 Featuring – Jade Warrior

Some groups really shouldn't have been left behind by history. Some were tight, heavy, expert players with great ideas and delivery, but somehow that just wasn't enough. It certainly wasn't for Assagai. By the very early 1970s, Nigerian guitarist Fred Coker had helped guide Assagai into position as the only real West African competition to the super-star firepower of Ghana's Osibisa. However, just before an American tour, Osibisa's bass player Spartacus left (and moved to Australia), the Ghanains asked Coker to swap lead guitar for bass and he said yes. Assagai were as good as finished, but this album - recorded in Coker's absence - crept out before the shutters came down.

Built around the core of Dudu Pakwana, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Mongezi Feza, the band were signed to the prog-rock titans Vertigo and this album comes complete with a Roger Dean sleeve. But what's most remarkable is what utterly great players they are. Barazinbar and Kinzambi are both super-heavyweight funk, Sanga is flute-led, astral Afro-jazz, Dalani is a straight-up dance floor groover with a prickly piano and rolling horns, while La La is a proto-ambient sunset classic just waiting to be rediscovered. As Lloyd Bradley points out in his excellent Sounds Like London: 100 Years of Black Music in the Capital, bands like Assagai's undoing was in their jazz-like reverence for just playing. Their aim was to get people dancing, not to make a name for themselves. Thankfully someone was there to capture them before their music just disintegrated into the ether.

Assagai - 1971 - Assagai


01. Telephone Girl
02. Akasa
03. Hey Jude
04. Cocoa
05. Irin Ajolawa
06. Ayieo
07. Beka
08. I'll Wait For You

Alto Saxophone – Dudu Pukwana
Bass Guitar – Charles Ononogbo
Cornet – Mongezi Feza
Drums – Louis Moholo
Guitar – Fred Coker

Assagai was an Afro-rock band from South Africa, active in the early 1970s in London. It consisted of five members: Louis Moholo, Mongezi Feza, Bizo Muggikana, Fred Coker, and Dudu Pukwana. They recorded for the British label Vertigo Records.

Assagai's self-titled debut album was released in 1971. It was reissued on CD by Repertoire Records in 1994.

Their second and final album, Zimbabwe, was released later in 1971. The album was re-released as LP by Music for Pleasure label, but under a different title, AfroRock.

Both their albums featured songs written by members of Jade Warrior and also included guest appearances from them as well.

In the 1960s, Pukwana, Feza and Moholo were also members of the jazz band The Blue Notes.