- Let’s have a party
- EMI 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
Let them talk
Let’s have a party