Far-out psychedelic-sounding rock mixed with a thick dollop of deep funk and soul was massively popular during the 1960s and 1970s in Africa. This Rough Guide features some hand-picked gems from the archive such as Victor Uwaifo and Balla Et Ses Balladins, and includes tracks by unstoppable psychedelic veterans Ebo Taylor and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, who are still releasing top-quality mind-bending grooves today.
The 1960s and 1970s across Africa were decades defined by bright optimism and clashing sensibilities. Music plunged through the heart of this dynamic time and was a powerful tool of expression. Far-out psychedelic-sounding rock mixed with a thick dollop of deep funk and soul became the sound of a generation.
On this Rough Guide Nigerian guitar maestro Sir Victor Uwaifo employs the sweet harmonies and gently lilting textures of highlife, mixed with echoing horns and distorted guitar lines, resulting in a heady psychedelic brew. His seminal track 'Guitar Boy', included on this album, was a huge hit in 1966. Celestine Ukwu's gentle track 'Obialu Be Onye Abiagbunia Okwukwe' also includes a highlife groove, played at a laid-back tempo and teasingly interspersed with swooping, bent notes played on a pedal steel guitar. On 'Let Yourself Go', Olaiya rasps and growls his vocals above tightly stacked horn lines that, along with the percussion, pound out a straight-ahead groove.
East African psychedelic music often has a darker, jazzier feel, inferred from the use of traditional modes and harmonies. Hailing from Ethiopia, Al&;egravemay&;egravehu Esh&;egraveté's music is brooding Ethio-jazz with a splash of psychedelia in the form of a winding high-pitched guitar, a booming amplified bass line and interjecting keyboard figures.
This Rough Guide also includes music from musicians who have successfully re-launched their careers on the contemporary 'world music' scene. Enjoy the revived retro sounds of Orchestra Baobab, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo and Ebo Taylor.
To top it all off this original compilation comes with a full-length bonus album from none other than Sir Victor Uwaifo himself. First recorded in 1971, enjoy Ekassain fully re-mastered splendour.