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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of the Strongest African CompilationsOct. 18 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Rough Guide to “Psychedelic Africa” is a fantastic collection of African music from back in the day. The party starts on a high note with Victor Olaiya's ‘Let Yourself Go,’ which channels James Brown. Celestine Ukwu’s ‘Obialu Be Onye Abiagbunia Okwukwe’ is a spectacular highlight. With moody vocals, the minor keyed song is soulful and emotionally provocative. The guitar work is spellbinding; it’s some of the best African guitar work this seasoned listener has heard. On the tune, All Stars Soul International even plays slide guitar to enhance the blue mood. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo picks up the pace with straight-up Fela style Afrobeat. ‘Kadia Blues’ is one of many sparklers by a mostly unknown band -in this case it's Orchestra De La Paillote. The brasscentric song is in the New Orleans brass band idiom. The exception to this is the amazing surf guitar work. At this point, it’s clear that Rough Guide did their homework with “Psychedelic Africa.” We leave West Africa for an Ethiopian tune by Eruq Yaleshew. Balla et Ses Balladins brings back the Highlife. The brasscentric song features a great conga solo. How can there be a psychedelic themed African compilation without some Zairean guitar? As if to respond to this question, Milmani Park Orchestra’s ‘Taxi Driver’ beautifully represents Soukous. We move to North Africa for Orchestra Baobab’s ‘Nijaay,’ another of the album’s highlights. It’s not just one of the most vocally satisfying songs; the groove is unspeakably good. Ebo Taylor’s ‘Nga Nga’ delivers a satisfying shot of Afrobeat. ‘Guitar Boy’ has a catchy melody, good vocals, and the guitar work has real showmanship. As the only Anglophonic song, it serves to introduce Victor Uwaifo, as the second disc plays his entire “Ekassa” album. Salif Keita’s old band, The Rail Band finishes things out with ‘Wale Numa Lombaliya.’ The thirteen minute song gives plenty of time for the band to stretch out. Originally released in the early 1970s, the forty-three minute bonus disc reintroduces Victor Uwaifo’s “Ekassa.” It’s a very enjoyable Highlife album. It’s a wonderful time period for the genre as there’s the occasional flute and some fun keyboard work. Featuring beautiful work on a metallophone, ‘Ekassa 38’ is a highlight as it showcases the Nigerian’s song writing talent. As on ‘Ekassa 28,’ there are some great guitar solos. Apparently, Uwaifo would at times play with his tongue and feet, which isn’t that surprising considering that some of his guitar playing sounds inspired by Jimi Hendrix. While songs like ‘Ekassa 29’ have some psychotropic guitar work, much of the album plays straight-up Highlife. As with the selections on the main CD, everything has been beautifully remastered. While rightfully focusing on West Africa, this Rough Guide is eclectic in terms of the regions and genres represented. For the most part, these artists fly under the radar when compared to artists like Fela, Mulatu Astatke, King Sunny Adé, etc. The million dollar question is, does this Rough Guide live up to its name by playing psychedelic music? Listeners expecting to hear Sgt. Pepper's will be disappointed, as there's no freak out. That said, many of these songs have a mind-expanding sound, even if it’s only in the guitar solo. Along with "African Scream Contest," this is sure to resonate with anybody that already loves African music from the 1960s and '70s. As a listener that has an independent passion for both African music and psychedelia, this is one of my favorite compilations of classic African music.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
WowApril 28 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Amazing. I can't believe this music was happening and I was aware of it. This is where it all came from.