Archive for the ‘afro funk’ Category

Geraldo Pino & The Heartbeats - Let’s have a party

November 26th, 2011

Geraldo Pino - Let's Have a PartyGERALDO PINO & THE HEARTBEATS

  • Let’s have a party
  • EMI Nigeria
  • 1970
  • Nigeria

Geraldo Pino was born in Sierra Leone, but moved to Nigeria via Ghana quite early. He was one of the originators of afrobeat in the early 1960s when he was mixing highlife, funk and jazz together in his music. Actually the often credited pioneer of afrobeat and the most famous musician that ever came from Nigeria, Fela Kuti, wasn’t playing afrobeat since day one of his career, but only after he was exposured to Pino’s styles.

This is how afrobeat legend Fela Kuti later recalled the situation

“I was playing highlife jazz when Geraldo Pino came to town in ‘66 or a bit earlier with soul - that’s what upset everything, man. He came to town with James Brown’s music, singing “Hey, hey, I feel all right, ta ta ta ta…” And with such equipment you’ve never seen, man. This man was tearing Lagos to pieces. After seeing this Pino, I knew I had to get my shit together. And quick!”

Throughout the 1960s Pino continued to perform highlife jazz and afrobeat until he slided more and more to afrofunk in the late 1960s. He was also more and more influenced by James Brown in music writing and in his performances. In 1970 was released one of the hardest afrofunk albums out of Nigeria, Let’s have a party by Geraldo Pino and his band The Heartbeats. As it was typical for the afrofunk records, there is only six songs on the album, but quality is what counts. And the length of the songs, which is also typical for the afrobeat and afrofunk songs. Although Pino was eventually overshadowed by Fela and other afrobeat stars, his legacy still lives throughout the few albums he made.

There’s no weak points on this album, not even any decent tracks. All the songs are really tough, uptempo English sung afrofunk with electric piano, organ, heavy percussion and guitar work. There’s even some bad ass breaks included here. I must admit that all the tracks sound quite much alike though. That don’t bother me of course, because I find them all very amusing. “Africans must unite” is the only song that starts as a quite mellow groover but soon turns into an uptempo afrofunk track in a way the rest of the songs are. “Let them talk” and “Power to the people” both have long and tough break in the middle. The original is practically impossible to find and the Soundway reissue from 2005 also fetches some prices, so grab it with no hesitation if you see it somewhere.

Africans must unite

Heavy heavy heavy

Power to the people

Shake hands

Let them talk

Let’s have a party

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under africa, afro funk | No Comments »

Disco Blaze - Jump back

September 24th, 2011

Disco Blaze - Jump BackDISCO BLAZE

  • Jump back
  • Iyanda records
  • Mid 1970s
  • Nigeria

Almost nothing is known of this band called Disco Blaze nor their album Jump back. possibly only a handful of copies have survived the years and only one is ever seen on ebay - and that went for over 800 bucks in 2008. That is a true pity as the album is full of dynamite. Good thing is that the album was reissued in 2010, so we all have a chance to get it now. Despite their disco referring name, the music is heavy afro funk with influences of rock and soul. Of course there’s a mandatory ballad too, but it’s done in a good way with femme vocals and all. The group was from Ibadan, a city located in western Nigeria and they were propably performing in same places with the pioneering juju and highlice musician Tunde Nightingale, who was from the same city. Sade Adu - the singer and frontwoman of the British band Sade - was also originally from Ibadan.

But back to the music. The hypnotic rhythms of their heavy afro sound with fuzz guitars, wah wah and banging drums are really amusing throughout the whole album. And there’s some nice long breaks too. Like “Jump back (comm’ of the fireballs)”, a long uptempo instrumental funk jam with a tight, half minute break in the end. Or slightly slower paced “Hear the musik”, another hypnotic funk jam with some hook vocals and a break in the end. Third one to mention is “Come show me the way”, a midtempo vocal jam with some nice guitarwork. Very similar is “Plastic feelings”, a midtempo psychedelic funk track with wailing guitars and similar beat to the others. The only ballad is “Medley/solitude/weariness” with quite heavy drums and trembling female vocals in the first part of the song.

Jump back (comm’ of the fireballs)

Come show me the way

Hear the musik

Written by Mista Tibbz, at 18.00, filed under africa, afro funk | No Comments »
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