Friday, September 04, 2009

Buried Afrobeat

Over the course of the last year, Daptone Records have really been spreading their wings and setting off into some new territory. Late last year, they released Como Now, an album of pure, unadultered, a cappella gospel (read what I wrote about it here). Then, earlier this summer they released another gospel album, this one from Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens (who, by the way, I was able to see a couple of weeks ago - incredible! - read that post here). Well now, on September 1st, they've joined the crate digging business with their resurrection and re-release of an unknown classic Afro-beat album from 1973 entitled Na Teef Know De Road of Teef. It was one of two albums that Pax Nicholas, Fela Kuti conga player and background singer who appeared on all of Fela’s Africa 70 albums between 1971 and 1978.

This wouldn't have happened had Frank Gossner (aka DJ Soulpusher of not discovered a copy of the album while digging for vinyl in a record store in Philly. A copy so clean, that Daptone actually re-mastered this album directly from his original vinyl.

The album's put together right in line with Kuti style: only four tracks, two per side (on the original vinyl), the longest (the title number of course) weighing in at just shy of twelve minutes. Also in Kuti style, the way the cuts unfurl themselves, building, morphing, altering, returning, changing again, keeping a line alive that threads over and under the surface, pulling your ears along with it that's funky as all get out. Supposedly, Fela heard this album and thought it was so good, that he asked for it to be buried. Listen to the track below, then get it for yourself and see what you think.

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