Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Akwassa? Eureka!



Ahh... How I love it when the pieces fall together!

La'ila by Akwassa, DWAPS 54, 1975. This is a record I've had for some time, featuring a band I've never heard of, so I was just about to throw up this post as yet another terse "I don't know nothing about this artist but ain't it sho nuff funky"-type comment. However, as I waited for the tracks to upload, I took a few moments to peruse the back cover...



Akwassa--a mysterious duo made up of Felix Day (Hayman guitar & vocal) and Kevin Coburn (organ, piano, synthesizer & vocal). Never heard of either of them. These guys chose some... interesting stage names for themselves in those days, didn't they? "Kevin Coburn"? Sounds like the name of a late-1960s B-movie idol (or maybe a member of a C-list boy band from the 1990s). "Felix Day" isn't an altogether bad name, though... Has a ring to it... Felix Day... Felix Day....

Hmmm... That sounds a bit like Felix Odey, doesn't it? As in "Feladey," guitarist in the early-70s band Action 13, and later in Headzfunk and Bongos Ikwue's Groovies?

That would make sense, wouldn't it? Looking through the list of musicians who contributed to the album, apart from bassist Joe Castro the only name I recognize is Eddie Offeyi. I learned from our friend Seal67 (a close friend and occasional bandmate of Offeyi's) that Offeyi was the drummer in Headzfunk, so that's another connection right there.

By now, I'm pretty much convinced, but just to be completely sure, let's examine the available physical evidence, shall we? The only picture of Feladey I have on hand is the painting of him featured on the back cover of his 1985 album with the Jap Band, Japadodo (right). Let's compare that with the photo on the back of the La'ila LP:



I'd say there's a likeness!

Alright, so considering that this album was released in 1975, as was Aktion's Groove the Funk (which was recorded right after the dissolution of Action 13), that would mean Akwassa was a short-lived project Feladey was involved with between Action 13 and Headzfunk.

(By the way, I think the use of the synthesizer on this album sounds pretty far out for 1975... I wonder who this Kevin Coburn character is; he couldn't have just dropped off the scene completely. Maybe he changed his nom de rock?)

Well... Perhaps Seal67 knows something about all this. Or maybe we can get in touch with Feladey himself; he's still active in the industry as an artist (mainly in the gospel idiom), producer, manager and general music advocate.

(Sorry for the little geek-out, y'all... Here's some music.)

Akwassa - "Be Yourself (And Don't Let Nobody Be You)"
Akwassa - "I Don't Want No-Body (To Tell Me What To Do)"

14 comments:

Peter said...

U -

Drop me a line when time permits; hope and trust all is well.

Peter.

zim said...

fantastic stuff, as always. I'm really enjoying this series of unknown soul, but I have to say these have been my favorite of your recent postings - cry out for inclusion in some sort of "best of with comb and razor" compilation"

first one almost sounds as if BT Express went to Nigeria.

Comb & Razor said...

zim -

yeah, i have a lot of stuff like this llying around that i never posted because i was saving it for a different purpose... but the compilation thing you mentioned sort of gives me an idea...

Pieter said...

Wonderful finds! I burned Akwassa from a friend in Belgium a couple of years ago and never got more info on the band, just name and track titles. Thanks for shedding more light!

Seal67 said...

Absolutely right its Feladey and appears to be a solo effort using members of Headzfunk

Seal67 said...

Joe Castro, Feladey and Eddie Offeyi and I forget the name of the fourth guy were Headzfunk. Feladey on Guitar, Eddie on Drums and Joe Castro on Bass. Definitely a Solo effort. You need to check out his later solo work - Bandboy (93 or 94 i think) He had spent a bit of time back in Eket leading what was Mobil Peroleums resident band.

Comb & Razor said...

thanks a lot for clearing that up, seal67! didn't know Castro was in Headzfunk as well...

so no idea about "Kevin Coburn"?

Comb & Razor said...

oh yeah... i have heard quite a bit about that Band Boy record, too. in fact, i remembering seeing it around many years ago, but i wasn't really inclined to check it out back then.

i need to try to find it now...

BeninBoy said...

Maybe I'm mistaken, but didn't feladey do a remake of one of Rex Lawsons 'Sawale' in the early 90's ? Good to see you are back!

Comb & Razor said...

thanks, BeninBoy.... it's good to be back!

don't think i remember Feladey's remake of "Sawale," but it's possible. i remember "Sawale" becoming very popular at my school in the late 80s... at the time, i didn't even know it was a Rex Lawson song! a new version of it would help explain its sudden resurgence amongst my generation.

but if you are sure this was the early 90s and not the late 80s, then maybe it was on this Band Boy album that i need to get a hold of...

Seal67 said...

Kevin was definitely a member of Headzfunk, if I'm not mistaken he died after falling out of a window in an uncompleted building the biys were chilling out in afetr a show. Feladey's version of Sawale was in 1992 and he also did a version of So ala te mem, in a pseudo croon-parody ghastly stuff but Feladey is our boy and as they say, monkey no fine but him mama like am. Great Guitar licks though

Comb & Razor said...

as always... thanks for the info, Seal67!

Seal67 said...

Hey, just a quick correction, the Akwassa album was definitely a Headzfunk Project, apparently the band operated under two names Akwassa and Headzfunk, since Akwassa were signed to Afrodisia-Decca, whilst Headzfunk were signed to Emi, even though the personnel were the same, hence the contractually bound parties guested on the others albums. Basically the band ate theor cake and had it, until it blew up in their faces later. The full band was Feladey- Guitar; Eddie Offeyi- Drums; Kevin Coburn- Keyboards now deceased and Ricky West Vocals also deceased. I need to correct that Ricky West was the dude who fell out of a building in 79 and not Kevin who I met in 96, running a radio shack in PH and who only died 2 years ago. Just thought to correct the info placed previously

Comb & Razor said...

EXCELLENT!!!

thanks a lot for the additional info, seal67 (i have definitely got to listen to some more Headzfunk!)