Monday, September 22, 2008
WA HO HA!!!
As I have stated a few times before, I have something of a love-hate relationship with Nigerian reggae. I mean, I've actually warmed up to it considerably over the past year or so (mostly for scholarly reasons) but as I have precious little space in my personal collection (and even preciouser little money to spend on vinyl in this wintry economic climate), when I'm shopping I usually veto the Naija natty riddims right off the bat.
Thankfully, they're usually easy to identify too, since 1980s album designers took to stenciling jagged lettering and red-gold-green hues on every goddamn sleeve. Or my other rule of thumb is: "When in doubt, just avoid any LP that depicting persons with dreadlocks."
Pity me; for my prejudice almost made me pass on Pazy.*
In fact, I did pass on the record twice before I finally picked it up on a whim... Well, actually, it was a bit more of an educated process than just a "whim"; after all, my aversion is chiefly to reggae from the mid-1980s onwards and the orange-and-black EMI label on this disc suggested that it was from the 1970s... 1982 tops. And while I didn't recognize any of the musicians listed on the back (Pazy Etina? Makos? Colins Osokpor? James Etina?), none of them were credited with "Linn drum programming" or "synbass"--Jack Stone was even given as playing the organ and not "keyboards"! So yeah, I figured that if nothing else, at least this reggae record would be rootsier than the tinny Casio skank that scored much of the Babangida and Abacha eras.
Sure enough, the album does start off with a couple of decidedly tasty reggae cuts--one minute into the inaugural track, the lovely Carlton & the Shoes-esque "Comfort Me JahoJah" (never mind how it's spelled on the back cover), I already knew this was to become one of my favorite records--but soon veers off into some heavy psychfunkrock of the brain-frying variety.
Pazy and the Black Hippies - "Comfort Me JahoJah"
Pazy and the Black Hippies - "Elizabeth"
Pazy and the Black Hippies - "Wa Ho Ha"
Apart from Fuzzy (who I have assumed is the Fuzzy Gbagbi credited on the Sunny White LP) I haven't seen these guys names anywhere else. Wonder if they have any other albums.
*Ditto Muddy Ibe