Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fela Ransome-Kuti And The Africa '70 - 1971 - Why Black Man Dey Suffer...

Fela Ransome-Kuti And The Africa '70 
Why Black Man Dey Suffer...

01. Why Black Man Dey Suffer
02. Ikoyi Mentality Versus Mushin Mentality

Fela Ransome Kuti: keyboards, vocals, percussion
Tunde Williams: first trumpet
Eddie Faychum: second trumpet
Igo Chiko: tenor saxophone
Lekan Animashaun: baritone saxophone
Peter Animashaun: rhythm guitar
Maurice Ekpo: bass guitar
Ginger Baker: drums
Henry Kofi: first conga
Friday Jumbo: second conga
Akwesi Korranting: third conga
Tony Abayomi: sticks
Isaac Olaleye: shekere, vocals

Initially recorded for EMI, but EMI refused to release it.

Why Black Man Dey Suffer is a more formative affair. It's one of a series of early 1970s' albums which made the transition between the highlife and jazz blend of Kuti and Allen's first band, Koola Lobitos, and the turbulent magnificence of mature Afrobeat. Trumpeter Tunde Williams, baritone saxophonist Lekan Animashaun and first conga player Henry Kofi, from later line-ups including that on Alagbon Close, are also in place. But Afrobeat's signature tenor guitar has yet to be introduced, and, crucially, Allen didn't play on the session, making way for Ginger Baker.
Baker does a creditable job on Why Black Man Dey Suffer, although Allen's absence means Africa 70 lacks the singular rhythms that would come to define Afrobeat a couple of years later. But the album is worth hearing, with powerful lyrics and some strong instrumental performances. A valuable snapshot of Africa 70's fetal stage. 

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