The Best Best Of Fela Kuti – The Black President (CD1)

Tracks: 7, total time: 78:48, year: 1999, genre: Groove-Funky

(C) 1999 FAK Ltd – (C) 1999 Universal Music International
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More than two years after his death, the first coordinated reissue campaignof Fela Kuti material
began with this collection, a double-disc set including 13 of his best-known jams. Beginning with
three tracks from 1972 (the second disc also has a track from that year), The Best Best of Fela
Kuti ranges through his entire career, though the focus is appropriately on the ’70s. Kuti’s infectious
combo of high-stepping soul revivaland African township jazz has never been equaled. And his
band was chocked with excellent musicians, starting with the keyboards and saxophone of its
leader but also including propulsive drummer Tony Allen, baritonesaxophonist Lekan Animashaun,
trumpeter Tunde Williams, and bassist Franco Aboddy. As good as the music is, The Best Best of
Fela Kuti reallyshines when it comes to the songwriting. It’s an excellent primer on Kuti’s various
protest targets – the oppressive Nigerian government and military, the increasing Westernization of
Africa, unnecessary violence,hypocrisy, and pride – and wisely includes explanatory notes for each
track. The editing and compilation work are also done very well. Though many of the tracks had to
be modified down to the ten-minute range, the flow is natural and very smooth. The one caveat is
the detrimental effect of diminishing returns; Kuti’s style was practically trademarked, and after over
150 minutes of jams, the tracks tend to blend together and obscure their individual significance.
Overall though, this is an incredibly important work; it’s the first truly historical item on Kuti and
should finally bring the magic of Fela Kuti to Western audiences.
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S/N Time Song Title
1. 13:50 Lady
2. 13:27 Shakara
3. 11:03 Gentleman Edit Version)
4. 9:52 Water No Get Enemy (Edit Version)
5. 12:26 Zombie
6. 10:16 Sorrow Tears And Blood
7. 7:53 No Agreement (Part 2)