Wednesday, September 24, 2008
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)"