Sunday, November 20, 2016

Expensive Shit - Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70

This happens to be studio album number 12 by Fela Kuti, backed by his Afrika 70. This is among a string of albums during the 70's where, essentially, he could do not wrong. Yes there are ones I prefer, but this might be his best album. I've already reviewed Zombie and I plan to review some of his other albums from his discography, but I know how I feel about this (I've heard it a number of times) and cus its a quickie. I still have three more reviews to do before December so I can post this Chicago '78.
  1. Expensive Shit: This opens the album, hahahaha its only two tracks. This track opens with clapping of what i think is like a castanet or something and a guitar setting up a grove. Then we get some tasty electric piano that propels the track forward, with drums keeping it sort of grounded. Bass comes in and the grove is set for a solo on the, I wanna say Rhodes. Tension builds until the horns come and and fucking take you there. The horns are truly something else, and the alto sax plays a solo building up this groove with the other horns backing it put. Damn is Fela good at setting up interesting music. The horns stop, and let the alto play a bit of the solo alone (with the groove still in place. Then we get a sort of call back to the head. I also wanna say the percussion on this track is out of this world. I hope I can build something a quarter as good as this. Its very dancable and very rhythmic. Once the vocals come in you get some pidgen where it talks about shit not smelling. This was inspired after he was arrested for drugs, you know just read the album covers sticker. Its a neat story. Once the vocals are over with the call and response the sort of refrain comes in and the instruments come to the for front again. The piano plays for the last three minutes or so and the groove still goes and is going strong. 
  2. Water No Get Enemy: The horns start right out of the gate for this darker sounding track. Its more laid back and kinda makes you think. There is a sort of sadness in this track. It isn't as exciting as the title track. The vocals that sing with the horns almost make this sort of Ennio Morricone feeling. I like the solos and the groove here is also great. I really love the textures on this track. This is a solid track. Once Fela comes in it almost feels like he's mournful. I think this did what Mr Follow Follow did wrong. This might be a change of pace, but its still one if the best mellow songs his ever done. Its also one of the best songs his ever done. Its a shame the second side if Zombie want better. I really like the piano at the ending of this track and I don't really know how describe this except a nice ending and darker. He would continue with this type of track, before this album and after it too.
Overall I have to give this album a 8/10. The reason I would go as far as saying this could be his best is usually the records are split into side A track and side B track. This is the only one, in my recollection, that has a solid A and B track. I mean I could be stupid and recalling falsely or lacking something I remember. But from the top of my head this is the most consistent album of his. At least of the 20 or so I've heard. I think next will be either Teacher No Teach Nonsense and Beasts of No Nation.

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