“We stayed at Victor’s mom’s house in Lagos and she fed us like kings,” says Uzo Agulefo, remembering the days in 1974 when Be Nice to the People—the only album the five-piece group ever released—was recorded. With song titles like “Be Nice to the People” and “Love”, and a sort of domesticated, clean-cut exuberance Question Mark sounds like a band any parent would be flattered to have in her kitchen: “Aw, my kid, look at him and his friends, getting up there on TV!” Even when they sing about bullying in “Scram Out” the lyrics ask for freedom rather than revenge. “I wanna feel free! I wanna feel happy!” sings Frank Izuorah, “We’ve all got a funky life to live!” British and US influences are there on the surface, not densely mixed with local music. Question Mark is not Fela Kuti, nor Victor Uwaifo, its members were not trying to rewrite musical history, just contributing to it.
// Notes from the Road
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