“The first-ever solo album from a Trinidadian steel pan player” apparently—or at least it was in 1973. The repository of eclectica that is Japan’s EM label has seen fit to reissue it with typically stylish attention to detail, cosmovisionary cover art, original sleevenotes and all. The actual music is rooted in dense, fecund ethno-funk of the Cymande genus, recorded amid the Afro-Latin ferment of 70s NewYork, with Lord Kitchener/Mighty Sparrow arranger Rodney slack-clinking his steel over the top. It’s a heady, largely instrumental brew smoky with viscous basslines, wah-wah guitar and open ended rhythm, content to let its grooves play out rather than run them into hooks. As thick and stoned as the atmosphere gets on the likes of “Peace Pipe” and “Midnight Man (O’ Mo’O’Ru)”, the bright, Hugh Masakela-esque voicings of trumpeter Fortunia Louis Ruiz—and limpid fills of Rodney himself—flash their agility through the fug, blazing out on the carnival high of a title track.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article