Album Review

Kuti, Fela – “Yellow Fever / Na Poi” – [Wrasse Records]

abacus   5/22/2012   CD, International

Two bumpin LPs slapped together from the king of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti and his Africa 70. These were both recorded in 1976 at a time when Fela was gaining immense popularity throughout Africa as he was simultaneously being persecuted by the Nigerian government for his anti-government sentiments and revolutionary pan-Africanism, not to mention declaring his house and property an independent state: The Kalakuta Reepublic. Contrary to this, though, these tracks are not overtly political, Yellow Fever the only one to touch on the subject. We then have two versions of Na Poi, possibly a response to James Brown’s “Sex Machine” with similar subject matter though he reminds us that “this is no sex machine, this is music machine.” The final track is the most straightforward (though not necessarily the best) with grooves that hit hard and don’t linger. That one is also sung in a mix of English and Yoruba, adding a nice element. New booty-shakin material from this legend to add to our thirsty Fela library right in time for Mayhem… Enjoy!

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