Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Achterbahn Band - 1979 - Richmond Road Riot

Achterbahn Band 
Richmond Road Riot

01. All These Summernights    
02. Richmond Road Riot    
03. Days In Paris    
04. Member Of The Upper Class    
05. My Sweet Son    
06. Swedish Woman    
07. Children Song    
08. Cold    
09. Pretty Lines    
10. Be All My Sins Remembered    
11. Orange Tree Rag

The Achterbahn Band's self released Richmond Road Riot LP seems to be the only record the group from Delmenhorst in northern Germany released. Now that is a damn shame, because in my little world Richmond Road Riot is a wonderful and timeless crown jewel...
But it always gives me a hard time when trying to talk/write about it. It's not easy to describe their very eclectic style of music - not really Progrock, not 100% Pop, Jazz? yes maybe..... Dammit I hate this category stuff! Maybe it's just incredibly good pop music with hints of progressive rock and easy latin á la High Llamas. And whatever it may be, it doesn't sound like "1979" to my ears. More like "sometime between 1969 and 2009".
Please get an impression and tell me what you think about it!
I absolutely love this album and would love to know more about them... for starters who are the guys in the band... All and any info is welcome!

Pancake - 1979 - No Illusions

No Illusions

01. Just Miss Your Smile (3:34)
02. Fire-and-Rain-Song (5:32)
03. Dream-Delta-Land (Part I + II) (9:01)
04. No Touch of Illusions (4:27)
05. Autumn Leaves (8:42)
06. I Try (4:52)

Bonus Tracks (Garden of Delights, 2012):
07. Tears of Time (5:38)
08. Panmade (4:02)
09. Rendezvous (2:30)
10. No Touch of Illusions (live) (4:26)
11. Love Is All Around (live) (4:10)
12. Hey Joe (live) (4:32)

7-9: Taken from an unreleased tape 1980
10-12: Taken from Pancake Live (CD-R 2002)

- Hans Derer / drums, vocals
- Uli Frank / keyboards, vocals
- Walter Negele / guyitars, vocals
- Ralf Scheibe / bass, vocals
- Biggi Zmierczak / vocals

- Tommy Kircher / Mellotron, keyboards
- Fritz Mahler / keyboards

 By the third album and aswell their swansong Pancake releaseing their best work IMHO, but the public was already lose intrest in the band and in prog music in general. The album released in 1979 named No illusion is aclearly changing again the sound and manner of composing, nor they left the spacey and atmospheric aproach combined with symphonic elements to amore heavy prog choice, who btw is not bad at all , really. The music is something towards hard rock with many mellotron passages, that gives in the end a pleasent heavy prog sound, but also some Eloy moments still are present here and there. Also the vocalist is no other then a female singer Biggi Zmierczak (she remind me of Jerney Kaagman of Earth & Fire fame) the range of her voice is almost the same , who did a great job here, softened the overall atmosphere giving a fairly mellow and pleasent and very good atmosphere as w hole. The best examples whre she shines are Dream Deltaland and Autumn Leaves are pretty damn' prog pieces with great musicianship, also some grandious choruses are present here with stunning arrangemets. The keybords, and more specific mellotron is almost on every piece, on 5 out of 6, that means is a great thing, they used with good measure , when needed and gviving a certain and special album.Otherwise, there are 'lots of mellotron strings on Fire And Rain Songs and No Touch Of Illusions, then more choir on Autumn Leaves ( who btw, the pieces beggins in a pure Eloy tradion, like if is taken from Silet cries and mighty echoes album) and I Try, but despite fairly heavy use the album sounds very solid and to me at least, the best out of the all 3. It's a shame that this is their final release, living aswell a good taste after listening to this album, that this band is unfairly unknown in musical circles, really, this album needs attention together with previous one. In places reminds me of Anyone's Daugher, second album, or later 70's bands form german scene like Minotaurus or Tibet. 4 stars easy for this one, more then good, and the best they ever done, and one of the most underrated albums of late '70's in prog music. Very solid and same time very good release by this obscure band. Recommended

Pancake - 1977 - Out Of The Ashes

Out Of The Ashes

01. Painted Rush-Hour (3:09)
02. Arctic Ocean (9:26)
03. Cakey Funk (3:26)
04. Rainbow Suite (10:14)
05. Out Of The Ashes (6:43)

06. Roxy Elephant (Live) (15:30)

- Peter Indrak / bass guitar, violin
- Hans Derer / drums & cymbals, assorted percussion, backing vocals
- Walter Negele / Lead & rhythm guitars, 12 string guitars, special effects guitar, backing vocals
- Rener Rohm / lead vocals, backing vocals
- Heinz Bertsch / Hammond organ, clavinet, electric piano, grand piano, string essemble synthesizer

Original guitarist and main songwriter Walter Negele basically had to build the band from the ground up. For this lineup he added a keyboardist along with a talented singer, to provide a more symphonic sound than prior. As with "Roxy Elephant", same period Jane would have to be looked upon as an influence, since they too had switched to a more spacey sound reflecting their new interest in all things Pink Floyd. This type of sound was hugely popular in Germany at this time, as not only major indigenous bands such as Eloy and Grobschnitt had migrated in this direction, but a host of more unknown groups like Indigo, Fly, and Shaa Khan had also tried their hand had emulating "Animals" era Floyd. Overall, "Out of Ashes" demonstrates a more confident Pancake, and is a slight improvement on the debut. But they were to accomplish even more on their final album "No Illusions".

Pancake - 1975 - Roxy Elephant

Roxy Elephant

01. Heartfire (4:07)
02. Rolltreppe (1:09)
03. Aeroplane (13:33)
04. End Of The Day (1:25)
05. Remember (4:50)
06. Long Life (4:11)
07. Harmony (3:12)
08. Roxy Elephant (7:00)

- Werner Bauer / bass guitar, vocals
- Günther Konopik / drums, percussions
- Walter Negele / guitar
- Tommy Metzger / guitar, vocals
- Hampy Nerlich / vocals

Formed in 1973 and based in the town of Winnenden, Nyrwana Pancake (beats me where the eclectic name came from ...) showcased the talents of bassist Werner Bauer, lead guitarists Tommy Metzger and Walter Negele, singer Hartmut 'Hampy' Nerlich, and drummer Rainer Rohm (quickly replaced by Gunther Konopik).  

Surprisingly psychedelic and enjoyable, the band debuted with a self-financed and instantly obscure single:

- 1973's 'Open Up Your Eyes' b/w 'Lonesome Boy' (private press catalog number A-1054)

The single was followed by a decision to shorten the name to Pancake.  Over the next two years the band played the club and concert scene while unsuccessfully trying to interest a major label in signing them.  They  eventually decided to release their debut album independently - the result being 1975's self-produced 'Roxy Elephant".  With Negele credited with penning all nine songs, this one's routinely been categorized under the broad 'Krautrock' label.  Personally I don't hear it - these guys were simply too mainstream and rock oriented to fit in the classic Krautrock box (whatever that sound implied).  In fact, I'd argue they had more in common with mid-1970s Pink Floyd than the rest of the Krautrock genre.  The band line-up also set them apart from the Krautrock competition.  Forgoing keyboards, they sported a pair of talented lead guitarists in Metzger and Negele their interplay routinely resulting in some of the album highlights.  Unfortunately, they weren't blessed with a fantastic singer.  Nerlich couldn't be blamed for trying, but his voice was limited in range; his delivery was frequently shrill, and his command of English sounded limited.

- 'Heartfire' opened up with some interesting atmospheric Roger Gilmour-influenced guitar, before jumping into a take-no-prisoners hard rock segment and then morphing into a pretty, mid-tempo rocker.  Propelled by the twin lead guitars the song was actually quite good, though Nerlich's shrill, somewhat tuneless vocals (it also sounded like he'd learned the English lyrics phonetically), took some of the steam out of the performance.  With a more accomplished singer this would have been one amazing debut song.   rating:
- 'Opening up with some martial drumming and classically-influenced lead guitars the instrumental 'Rolltreppe' has always reminded me of something Jan Akkerman might have done on one of his early solo albums.  That's not meant as a criticism since the song was actually one of their prettiest performances with some impressive interplay between Metzger and Negele.  
- Clocking in at over 13 minutes, 'Aeroplane' simultaneously underscored the band's strengths and weaknesses. Snaking through a seemingly never-ending series of aural twists and turns, at various times the song included heavy bursts of synthesizer sound effects, some of the album's best lead guitar, the band drunkenly chanting the title over and over again to what sounded like Russian folk song, a segment of mainstream AOR, and of course some Pink Floyd-ish segments. The song also ended with the cheesiest airplane crash and explosion sounds you've ever heard.  
- Once again showing the 'Metzger - Negele twin lead guitar lineup, the instrumental 'End Of The Day' showcased a mildly Indian-influenced melody.  Shame the song was so short. 
- Opening side two, 'Remember' found the band taking a stroll down a surprisingly commercial alley.  Almost folk-rock, the song had a nice melody, great strumming guitars and another killer twin lead guitar segment.  Even more impressive, Nerlich's vocals didn't even come off as irritating as was normally the casel.   
- 'Long Life' featured a conventional, and rather mundane slice of AOR-styled rock.  They were apparently trying to sound tough and dangerous, but the results were very 'hair band-ish' to my ears.  Really the only thing going on hear were the lead guitars and even those sounded tame compared to other tracks.   rating:
- Frankly 'Harmony' struck me as an aural mess.  It astars
- Bassist Werner Bauer and drummer Gunther Konopik gave the title track an unexpectedly funky (yes) opening which was reinforced by some nice Negele lead guitar.  Another atypical performance, the instrumental 'Roxy Elephant' has always reminded me a bit of a cultural cross between The Allman Brothers and Santana - now that would have been an interesting collaboration.  Overlooking the needless and extended Konopik drum solo, this was a great track and probably my pick for one of the standout performances on the album.  Delete the drum solo and it would be my pick for standout performance.   rating:
It wasn't particularly commercial, or particularly original so frankly I'm not sure why I like this one so much.  (Kudos to engineer Christoph Wertz for getting great sound.)

Morpheus - 2002 - For A Second

For A Second

01. Spanish Water (13:50)
02. Minimal Hip (3:02)
03. Go To Stop (1:32)
04. Funkturm (3:17)
05. Ever The Clever (4:12)
06. May Day Bay (8:03)
07. Spleep (2:35)
08. Cuzzle Puzzle Suite (21:46)
09. A Dose Is A Dose (1:08)
10. The Last Nandu (2:25)

- Gerold Adler / guitar
- Heinrich Holtgreve / Alto saxophone
- Alvaro "Chevere" Tarquino / drums
- Peter Blomeke / bass

In early-1977 Morpheus split. However, it's not the end of the story. Their bassist Peter Blömeke went on to a band called Bootleg who released a single in 1982. Guitarist Gerold Adler later had Gerald Adler Fusion, and played in a band called Juju & Friends in 1999.
So, why a Morpheus reformation? I'd heard rumours that they played live at festivals in Germany and did some good renditions of old classics. However, this new CD is of a totally different style of fusion. Much like the later Kollektiv reformation sounded nothing like the earlier band, sounding more like some homogenised American jazz-rock, so does this. Good, well played and creative, but devoid of any of their original identity.

CUZZLE PUZZLE SUITE is a 21 minutes monster track-absolutelly impressive,but all the album is very insteresting,catchy and diverse ,played by  very competent musicians and full of great ideas!

Morpheus - 1976 - Rabenteuer


01. Rabenteuer (9:55)
02. Brandung (5:00)
03. Breitmaulfrosch (5:15)
04. Oktober ’74 (2:16)
05. Tanz der Morphine (3:10)
06. Abflug (15:00)
07. Morpheus Jam (20:00)

- Gerold Adler / guitar
- Peter Blomeke / bass, flute
- Heinrich Holtgreve / saxophone
- Alfred Franke / drums

The band started out in 1971 as OPOSSUM, a six-member jazz-rock outfit. With time, dissention set in as two of the members wanted to tie the band down to free jazz while the other four wanted to rock. So in 1975, the foursome walked out, regrouped as MORPHEUS* and released a self-produced album titled “Rabenteuer” – a name which combines the German words for “raven” and “adventure”, as in “Raventure”. Unfortunately, the music had been recorded too slowly, resulting in the whole album being a semitone too low. Despite this, the LP (of which a mere 500 copies had been printed) became a collectors’ item. Luckily for us, Garden of Delights has re-released it in CD format, using the original master tapes and making it a point to correct the sound problem. Incredible as it may seem, some 22 years later the whole band has reunited around their guitarist and released a brand new CD titled “For a Second”. The band consists of guitarist Gerold Adler, alto sax player Heinrich Holtgreve, bassist Peter Blomeke and drummer

“Rabenteuer” is an all-instrumental jazz-rock album with lots of saxophone and bits of flute, similar in style to early KRAAN with perhaps a nod or two to MISSUS BEASTLY. Being partly improvised, the music has an almost ‘live’ feel to it; it is warm and features great guitar riffing as well as strong melodies. The CD version comprises a bonus track, a terrific 20-minute jam session salvaged from the master tapes. The band’s more recent album “For a Second”, released in 2002, may sound a bit laid-back in comparison but is still redolent of the old MORPHEUS charm, with plenty of trippy sax and catchy hooks.

Recommended to fans of early KRAAN and GONG as well as to jazz-rock fans who enjoy improvisation.

* Note: not to be confused with a string of metal bands also named MORPHEUS.

Emerald City - 1981 - Pieces

Emerald City 

01. Candy Girl - 03:10
02. Wake Up In The Morning - 06:06
03. Little Bit Of Time - 03:50
04. Twice I’ve Held The Lantern - 06:07
05. To Be Yourself     - 07:07
06. Someone To Believe In - 05:17
07. Eye Of The Storm - 09:05

Virgil "Swirvel" Allison, II - Keyboards
Tom Guy - Lead Vocals, Piano, Accoustic Guitar, Percussion
Randy Russell - Lead Guitar
Bobby Sewell - Keyboards
Mark Willams - Bass, Percussion,  Back-up Vocals

Private Label album recorded in Nashville and released in 1981.  The band’s song writers, brothers Tom and Danny Guy, previously released a dreamy psych LP called “Brothers” in the early seventies.  Tomas Gye also released a Self Titled LP in 1976.
 This LP receives a favorable review on page 101 of “Acid Archives The Second Edition” by Patrick Lundborg.  Among the things Patrick writes is, “Southern boys from hill country put together an unusual, agreeable progressive rock album that doesn’t sound like anything from 1981”.

Superbly melodic. Addictive in many ways. Highlights: "To Be Yourself" and "Someone To Believe In."  Track this one down.  Late 70's downer folk-prog from Tennessee?  Who would have known?  Perfect.

Wynder K. Frog - 1970 - Into The Fire

Wynder K. Frog 
Into The Fire

01. Into The Fire
02. Howl In Wolf's Clothing
03. F In Blues
04. Cool Hand Stanley
05. Eddie's Tune
06. Why Am I Treated So Bad
07. Hot Salt Beef
08. Warm And Tender Love

Shawn Phillips - guitar, vocals
Rocky Dzidzornu - percussion
Neil Hubbard - guitar
Chris Mercer - saxophone
Bruce Rowland - drums
Alan Spenner - bass
Mick Weaver - keyboards

Wynder K. Frog- Into The Fire -1970 UK": London-born keyboard player Mick Weaver has had a long career in music, from his early r'n'b performances to his recent work in Taj Mahal's band, but this article is concerned with his body of work in the late 1960's as Wynder K. Frog, leader of the eponymous (mostly) instrumental powerhouse outfit.

One of British rock's relatively-unsung heroes of the Hammond B3 organ, he is a supreme master of the instrument, particularly in blues/funk modes. Though much of his work has been relatively low profile as a session musician, or on stage on keyboards behind better known musicians.

Into the Fire was released only in the US, after the band had dissolved. Unlike the previous albums of mostly covers, the liner notes here state that the songs were, "composed specifically for the Frog style of musical interpretation, ranging far in beat, tempo and mood.

Wynder K. Frog - 1968 - Out Of The Frying Pan

Wynder K. Frog 
Out Of The Frying Pan

01. Jumping Jack Flash
02. Gasoline Alley
03. Willie And The Hand Jive
04. Harpsichord Shuffle
05. Baby I Love You
06. This Here
07. Green Door
08. Bad Eye
09. Alexander's Ragtime Band
10. Tequila
11. The House That Jack Built
12. Hymn To Freedom
13. High Heel Sneakers
Bonus Track:
14. Baldy

Mick Weaver - keyboards
Dick Heckstall-Smith - saxophone
Neil Hubbard - guitar
Alan Spenner - bass
Chris Mercer - saxophone
Bruce Rowland - drums
Ron Carthy - horn
Rebop Kwaku Baah - percussion

Remarkable, fresh and joyful. These three words are the best I found to describe this album. When I got it, most the original songs, instrumentally covered on it, were already known. It didn't matter; they sound as if they are brand new songs. From Rock hits such as Rolling Stones' Jumping Jack flash, to Soul gems such as Aretha Franklin's Baby I love you, to Jazz standards such as Oscar Peterson's Hymn to freedom or Bobby Timmons' This here. Two songs are penned by Mick Weaver, Wynder K. Frogg's real name, who is the leader playing Hammond organ and piano, backed by an incredible and powerful band including Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer on saxes and Henry Lowther on trumpet, all of them from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers' horn section; Reebop Kwaku Baah from Traffic on percussion; Mick Weaver replaced Steve Winwood in Traffic for a short while when the last left the band to join Eric Clapton and form Blind Faith. Traffic became Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog, soon shortened to Wooden Frog. They played a few gigs before dissolving three months later when Traffic reformed. The rest of Wynder K. Frog's band includes Neil Hubbard on guitar, Alan Spenner on bass and Bruce Rowland on drums. Last but not least, the record producers Gus Dudgeon and Jimmy Miller, responsible for that terrific sound. Released in 1968, it took more than 25 years to get the CD reissue; however, it didn't lose its freshness and joy. Through the years Mick Weaver has been the keyboard player for great blues artists such as Taj Mahal, Otis Grant and Keef Hartley, to name just a few.

Very accomplished organ quintet with an added horn section. Mick Weaver's robust, muscular approach to the B-3 is a joy. Solid support from Joe Cocker's Grease Band: Neil Hubbard on guitar, Alan Spenner on bass and Bruce Rowland on drums with soon-to-join Traffic, Reebop on percussion. Strong horn arrangments using John Mayall's horn section: Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer on saxes and Henry Lowther on trumpet. The songs are a mix of standards and original songs that hold up well next to American originators like Big John Patton and Brother Jack McDuff. The two stand out tracks, Green Door and Hi Heel Sneakers, were produced by the legendary Jimmy Miller and have a nice "Spencer Davis Group" type of vibe. The remainder of the cuts were produced by Gus Dudgeon, who later became famous as Elton John's producer. Very enjoyable set from an unjustly forgotten artist.

Wynder K. Frog - 1967 - Sunshine Super Frog

Wynder K. Frog 
Sunshine Super Frog


01. Sunshine Superman
02. I Feel So Bad
03. Oh Mary
04. Blues For A Frog
05. Somebody Help Me
06. Mercy
07. Hold On, I'm Coming
08. Shook, Shimmy And Shake
09. Insence
10. Walking To New Orleans
11. Don't Fight It (Feel It)
12. Dancin' Pain
Bonus Track:
13. I'm A Man

Mick Weaver - keyboards
Dick Heckstall-Smith - saxophone
Neil Hubbard - guitar
Alan Spenner - bass
Chris Mercer - saxophone
Bruce Rowland - drums
Ron Carthy - horn
Rebop Kwaku Baah - percussion

The hopelessly rare 'Sunshine Superfrog' originally only available as the Island label 12-track LP.12 top quality mod soul Hammond tracks and the LP never really lets up for a minute. A choice mixture of covers such as "Somebody Help Me","Sunshine Superman", "Hold On, I'm Coming" and "(Don't Fight it) Feel It" and more the classic " original '"I Feel So Bad". Now here it is with one bonus track "I'm A Man"

All tracks featured Mick Weaver as Wynder K. Frog, playing a Hammond B3 organ and were recorded in London playing over backing tapes by unnamed session musicians from New York. In the album liner notes Jimmy Miller noted that Weaver had "supplemented the band with trumpet, tenor sax, guitar, bass and drums, Wynder has transformed the organ into a highly enjoyable medium of sound, combining jazzy finesse with popular and commercial phrasing suitable for vast appeal".

Please - 1969 - Seeing Stars

Seeing Stars

01. Seeing Stars
02. Words To Say
03. Before
04. Time Goes By
05. The Road
06. Rise & Shine
07. Still Dreaming
08. Secrets
09. Who You Know
10. But
11. Steal Your Dreams

Peter Dunton (vcls, drms, organ)
Bernie Jinks (bs)
Nick Spenser (gtr)

Please were formed by Peter Dunton and Bernie Jinks in late 1967. They had just returned to Britain from Germany where they had played with Neon Pearl, which also included their third member Jurgen Ermisch. The fourth original member Adrian Gurvitz later co-founded Gun. Unfortunately this line-up left no vinyl legacy or unreleased recordings that have been located behind it. They disbanded in May 1968 when Peter Dunton joined The Flies for whom he wrote both sides of their Magic Train 45. When The Flies split up at the end of 1968, Dunton reformed the band (line-up 'B'). Rob Hunt had also been in The Flies. They recorded all the cuts compiled on this album. Please split again in April 1969 when Peter Dunton joined Gun. The remaining members recruited a new drummer and renamed themselves Bulldog Breed. They later cut the Made In England album. In the Autumn of 1969, Peter Dunton quit Gun to reform Please with Bernie Jinks and Nick Spenser (ex-Neon Pearl). This incarnation was relatively short-lived as they had difficulty recruiting a suitable keyboard player. In early 1970 Dunton, Jinks and a later Bulldog Breed member Keith Cross joined forces to form T2, who were responsible for the excellent It'll All Work Out In Boomland album. One of T2's tracks, No More White Horses also crops up in a radically different form on Please's 1968/69 retrospective.

Rikki Ililonga - 1976 - Sunshine Love

Rikki Ililonga
Sunshine Love

01. Take It Light   
02. Ulemu   
03. Angel Black   
04. Munzi Wa Kangwanda   
05. Working On The Wrong Thing   
06. Sunshine Love   
07. Lovely Woman   
08. Lock Mice'elf Away   
09. Love Is The Only Way

Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards, Congos & Percussion: Rikki Ililonga
Bass: Peter Giraudo & Rikki Ililonga
Drums: Sparky Behrens & Rikki Ililonga

Rikki’s second album, Sunshine Love, features tracks that mostly have a tilt towards western music both in lyrical content and sound. Songs like “Angel Black,” “Love is the Only Way,” “Working on the Wrong Thing,” “Ulemu” and “Munzi Wa Kangwanda” were lovely hits for both the young and the old. The song “Ulemu” touches on the need to respect each other’s occupations. It matters less whether one is a cleaner, waiter or fishmonger; they all deserve respect for their service to humanity. “Munzi Wa Kangwanda” tells a sad story of how some traditions could be retrogressive. A girl comes of age and is taken into initiation seclusion as per tradition. During the seclusion she is not to take a bath nor speak but listen to her tutors on sex and life matters. Due to these unhygienic conditions, she dies.

Thankfully Rikki learned from his debut that he sucks at playing bass-and-drums, so he recruited a couple much needed back-up musicians to do the job. They do a really good job bringing out a lot of the afro-funk that he seems incapable of doing on his own. This time the album is split into the mostly singer-songwriter material of the A-side, and the complete back-to-the-basics fuzzy zam-rock of the B-side, but even the A-side opens and closes with the zam-rock so it's much more consistently heavy compared to his debut. And his playing is getting much wilder than before. The title track, for example, has a fuzzy guitar that he plays so violently that it sounds like the amplifier can't handle it resulting in a really nice and distorted "breaking up" sound that adds to the heaviness.

Rikki Ililonga - 1975 - Zambia

Rikki Ililonga 

01. The Hole   
02. Shebeen Queen   
03. Zambia   
04. Hot Fingers   
05. Musamuseke   
06. The Nature Of Man   
07. Sansa Kuwa   
08. Stop Dreaming Mr. D.   
09. The Queen Blues   
10. Se-Keel-Me-Kweek

The realm of Western-influenced African music is consistently dominated by such powerhouse names as Fela Kuti, Victor Uwaifo and other West African legends whose 60s and 70s recordings have been reissued by companies like Soundway, Strut and Analog Africa. One can't possibly hope even to scratch the surface of the continent, however, without giving mention to Zambia's Zamrock scene which, alongside the music that arose in Ethiopia in the late 60s and early 70s, is leagues deep and largely misunderstood.

In the same vein,the genius of multi-instrumentalist Rikki Ililonga, and the famed Musi-O-Tunya band he helped found, have been afforded little international light. Ililonga's charismatic presence and unparrelled musicality - coupled with his ability to pen deeper lyrics than most in the genre - and Musi-O-Tunya's transcendent ability to deal in difficult traditional Zambian rhythms, deep funk and unrestrained fuzz rock in equal measure, have made for some amazing albums.

Rikki Ililonga started playing the guitar at the age of 18. Has played with almost every band in Zambia. Travelled extesively in Africa and abroad in search of musical knowledge. Founder member of Musi-O-Tunya who are know based in Nairobi – Kenya. In this, his first album, Rikki composed and arranged all the numbers. He switches from electric guitar to acoustic and slide guitars, bass, drums, congas and harmonicas with ease. He played all the instruments and does all the vocals himself. If you want to listen to African sound with a difference, this is the one. The sound of Rikki Ililonga of Zambia.
- Choko M’hango

I would like to thank the following people for giving me encouragement and confidence thru’out the years of my musical career. Thanks to Ernest Mando for helping me see thru mice’elf. To Mannasseh Phiri and Charles Mando for tolerating my filthy habits and bad manners. And loving thanks to Sandi, who lived through it all to become my best friend, lover and wife – May the spirits bless her fanny. My special thanks to Brother Njenga and Charlie Sekano for blowing their horns along. Not to forget Bonnie Wanda, George Monte and Jimi Mawi. Lastly, I’d like to thanks George Kaemba to whom this ambum is dedicated with love and respect, for living thru’ the noise and joysticks without complaining. And thanks to U, whoever U’re, for reading this B.S.
- Rikki

iTunes Review:

There’s a little more polish to this stuff (and a lot of acoustic guitar-based singer/songwriter stuff), as opposed to the wildass in-studio jams of the Musi-O-Tunya album, but Ililonga doesn’t restrain himself that much — he takes one of his scorching guitar solos through the entirety of “Sansa Kuwa,” and the funk groove of “The Hole” is unstoppable. Ililonga’s English-language lyrics are frequently dark, dealing with depression and social problems in Zambia, as opposed to the party anthems many other African groups were recording at the time, and his voice is weirdly compelling, more reminiscent of Damo Suzuki than peers like Fela or Sir Victor Uwaifo.

Musi-O-Tunya - 1976 - Give Love to Your Children

Give Love to Your Children

01. Give Love to Your Children (4:26)
02. Sunkah (2:45)
03. Starving Child (3:51)
04. Ayeye (3:09)
05. Njala (4:05)
06. Katonga (4:50)
07. When I’m Gone (2:23)
08. Bashi Mwana (3:14)
09. My Baby (3:18)
10. Mwana Osauka (3:30)
11. Musi O Tunya (4:10)
12. Thunderman (4:18)

Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar & Kalimba: Derick Mbao
Lead Guitar & Vocals: Rikki Ililonga
Western Drums & Vocals: Alex Kunda
African Drums & Vocals: Siliya Lungu
Soprano Saxophone: Kenny Chernoff
Rhythm Guitar: John Bobby Otieno
Trumpet: Njenga

The legendary Zambian psychedelic rock and afrobeat band’s second album and rare 7” tracks, recorded between 1972 and 1976.
This is LA label Now-Again’s second foray into the Zamrock genre. It follows guitarist/vocalist/ songwriter Rikki Ililonga and Musi-O-Tunya’s Dark Sunrise, a compilation of Musi-O-Tunya’s Pathe East Africa 7? singles, their first album ‘Wings of Africa’ and Ililonga’s first two solo albums.
A heady blend of afrobeat and psychedelic rock, Give Love to Your Children teems with energy and tension. Though the band members were individually affected by drug use and personal adversity, any sadness is tempered by a sense of spontaneity and freedom, and Give Love to Your Children’s explosion of fuzz guitar, chunky…

Musi-O-Tunya - 1975 - Wings Of Africa

Wings Of Africa

01. The Wings Of Africa 7:10
02. Dark Sunrise 8:32
03. The Sun 6:18
04. Mpondolo 8:00
05. Walk & Flight 8:00
06. One Reply 5:50

Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar & Kalimba: Derick Mbao
Lead Guitar & Vocals: Rikki Ililonga
Western Drums & Vocals: Alex Kunda
African Drums & Vocals: Siliya Lungu
Soprano Saxophone: Kenny Chernoff
Rhythm Guitar: John Bobby Otieno
Trumpet: Njenga

The most influential (and arguably the best) zam-rock record, but since its international release came much later than the rest it's the least known. Rikki Ililonga's vision was to combine the afrobeat sound with Jimi Hendrix's acid rock sound, and it works so well. The opening track is the only one without the heavy fuzz, I assume so that the listener can brace himself for the rest of the album. There are two drummers, one playing traditional african drums in the left speaker and one playing Western rock drums in the right. And there's also a small brass section from the afrobeat/James Brown influence that seems to have been abandoned by the zam-rock scene after this album in favour of the more acidic brassless sound.

The band’s debut full-length release, 1975's Wings of Africa (recorded in a single day), adds some surprising elements to the funk and rock that were sweeping the continent at that time, including almost klezmer-ish clarinet on “Mpondolo” and horns that seem to be working in deliberate opposition to the rhythm section on “Walk and Fight.” Musi-O-Tunya’s version of Afro-funk was decidedly more aggressive and less devoted to hypnotic rhythms than the Afro-beat of Fela Kuti, which was developing in Nigeria at more or less the same time, with tracks frequently featuring long and harsh acid rock guitar solos.

The Dark Sunrise anthology includes 3 singles (6 tracks) from 1973-1974 that are also quite good and fuzzy despite their poor sound quality, as well as one extra track "Tsegulani" that I can only assume was a non-album B-side from an album-single, based on the the production quality that seems to be similar to the album.

Musi-O-Tunya’s repertoire ranged from traditional tunes to original compositions. Their songs done in English carried universal themes making them easily accessible internationally. After charming audiences in Zambia’s tourist capital, Livingstone, the group shifted camp to Kenya, another African tourist hotbed where their popularity grew beyond borders. It was in Nairobi that they entered the recording studio to churn out their debut album, Wings of Africa, released on on 24 January 1975 in the vinyl, LP format. Recorded at the famous Sapra Studios, this was a seaming hot album with great pieces of music. The title track is a call for Africans to take pride in their “African-ness” and to “fly away” to prosperity. MoT also recorded and released a number of singles that rocked the local music scene.