Monday, February 23, 2009

One Big Question...

Who were Sons of Izzu?

Wish I could say I knew. Hell, I wish I could say I knew what year their album Ago Follow You Go was released. But since the record sleeve gives us none of this information, we'll do the best we can to sketch a general portrait using the few context clues we do have.

1. They were an Igbo highlife group. While they do not sing in Igbo, this is obvious due to their bouncy, Ikwokilikwo sound and the subtitle "Anambra/Imo special," a reference to the two main Igbo-speaking states in Nigeria at the time.

2. This LP was recorded some time after 1975, the year Ikenga Superstars of Africa released Ikenga in Africa, which popularized this style of hard-driving, pidgin English highlife. Probably even after Prince Nico Mbarga's 1976 Sweet Mother, whose massive success across Africa and the Caribbean thrust this kind of sound into overdrive.

3. Like Mbarga himself, this LP is a Cameroonian-Nigerian creation. The only credited session musicians are Edjo'o Jacques Racine (bass), Ginger Forcha (guitars) and Feliciano Sango (a.k.a. Felix Nsango, percussion), a trio of Cameroonian rock musicians known as Rock Town Express.

4. The record was produced by Tony Essien, a musician and producer from Akwa Ibom State who often worked with Rock Town Express, and released on Essien's own Supertone label. This record would have been made before Essien assumed the position of chief producer and creative director at Haruna Ishola's Phonodisk label in 1980.

So... Given all that, I'm guessing this record dropped in 1977 or 78 (Something about it sounds very Festac-y to me). Still no clue who Sons of Izzu themselves were, though...

5/6/09: Actually, now that I think about... This LP is TON(LP) 002; the Tony Essien-produced Enim Ini by Cross River Nationale was TON E001... Enim Ini was released in 1976, so...

SONS OF IZZU - AGO FOLLOW YOU GO (SUPERTONE, TON (LP) 002, 1970s)

SIDE ONE
1. Ago Follow You Go
2. Better No Follow

SIDE TWO
3. One Big Question
4. You Never Chop Beleful

DOWNLOAD AS ZIP

8 comments:

icastico said...

Looks very cool. Can't wait to get home and have a listen...thanks as always.

Comb & Razor said...

Hope you enjoy, Icastico!

John B. said...

Love the cover!

Comb & Razor said...

Yeah... It's pretty reminiscent of Onitsha market literature...

icastico said...

Thanks on the links to Pen & Mallet and Skin & Barrel btw...

Comb & Razor said...

Ain't no thing... I really like what you've got going on!

Ambrose said...

"...Onitsha market literature," Ago die o! 70s Naija was a hell of an era ... I was part of it.

Comb & Razor said...

Ha, Ambrose! Somehow I would have imagined that the Onitsha pamphlets would have been a bit too lowbrow for your tastes...