BLO does almost everything well and performs nothing eccentric or extravagant, nothing drawn-out or political—in short, nothing Kuti-esque, even though the album was released originally in 1975, Lagos, Nigeria, and the band members were acquainted with Kuti, admired him, even played with him, and they knew too the Sierra Leonean funk frontman Geraldo Pino, whose entry into Nigeria transformed the music there forever. They were all part of a post-civil-war musical upsurge. The brass is soulful, loungey, clever, and chilly, just properly cold in “Hypocrisy”—meanwhile the subtle guitar nickers wikki-wakka-wakka-wakka so privately it’s almost subconscious. Instruments are the drawcard here: all of the singing is weak and I suspect that this has perverted “Rhythm of Love” away from the composer’s intentions. The male lead on those seductive lyrics is surely not supposed to sound so awkward. But the instruments, and the songs themselves? Immaculate.
// Notes from the Road
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