Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dove's Golden Voice

Have I ever mentioned that Maxwell Udoh is one of my favorite Nigerian singers?

I can't even make out what the hell he is saying more than half the time but there is something very appealing about the tension of his voice--the slightly hollow vocal timbre and plain-spoken, no-frills delivery. His burning sincerity was perfectly suited for the super-earnest style of Doves, for whom he sang lead vocals for a while (replacing Cameroonian singer Lawrence Nsoesie Ebanga, who died in an accident on the infamous Njaba Bridge in 1976) before going solo in 1982 at the age of 21.

Maxwell Udoh was not the kind of singer who was ever really "cool"--in fact, he was always very "local" or "bush," if you will. But while you could talk all day about his lack of polish or suaveness as an artist, there was no way you could argue with the persuasive power of his highlife calypso dance anthems.

In the late 80s, when reggae became the big thing, he dropped his trademark honorific "Dove's Golden Voice," and donned a beret and fatigues, billing himself as "Rasman Maxwell and his Masses Militia Band."

Apparently, he's still out there doing his thing:

Good for him. I was never that crazy about his reggae stuff, but these joints here (from his second solo LP, 1983's Don't Make Me Wait Too Long) are still the jams for me:

Maxwell Udoh - "Let's Dance Together"
Maxwell Udoh - "Baby Bye Bye"


Joe said...

Wow, the bass on these tracks is really odd, especially on "Let's Dance Together". It almost sounds like a rubber band. Great tracks, though.

Comb & Razor said...

Yup... I've always felt it was those rubbery basslines (and the sharp, insistent calypso drum patterns) that gave Maxwell's early records their unique kick!