Monday, March 09, 2009

Get Yer Ju-Ju's Out... It's Monday!

We haven't yet taken a look at Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey but we will... at some point.

Today we'll just check out a taste from a musician closely associated with Obey, Monday O. John.

By the early 1970s, Obey had been established for a few years as one of the stand-bearers for a glamorous new era of juju that saw the genre move from gin joints to jamborees, assimilating the cosmopolitan appeal of highlife, the vigorous physicality of rock & roll, the earnest emotionalism of country & western, and the guitar theatrics of Congolese rumba.

In the latter department, Obey found himself mostly outmatched by his chief rival, King Sunny Ade, much feted for his guitar wizardry. Obey's recruitment of John evened out the guitar stakes between his Inter-Reformers band and Ade's African Beats, or at least made it a reasonable enough debate.

This 1983 outing features John leading a band that includes a few musicians more identified with the "rock" genre--conga player Friday Jumbo, guitarist Jimi Lee Adams, keyboard player Goldfinger Papa Doe, Fela's afrobeat co-architect Tony Allen on the drums--and interesting enough, KSA guitar player Kayode Dosunmu.


1. Eyin Terije-Erantiwa-o (Let the richest remember the poor)
2. Awon Tiwon Ti-Gbon-Lomo Olorun (The people with knowledge are the sons of God)
3. Won Be Larawon (They are among--with them)

1. Emi Nima Sin Iyami To Tomi Dagba (I shall be at Mother's funeral ceremony)
2. Iya Wi Fun Omo Ko Marokun (A mother's warning to her child)
3. Eje Kafarabale Siotito (Let's be patient for the truth)
4. Ojo Nla Ni Ojo Timo Yan (It's a great day that I received from the Lord)



icastico said...

OOOOOH! Tony Allen playing juju.
I am excited (I AM a drummer afterall).
Can't wait to get home and listen to this one.


Comb & Razor said...

I know... It's an exciting idea, isn't it? Make me wonder how much more of this kind of stuff Tony Allen did. (His solo album Black Voices and the Psyco On Da Bus album did have a bit of a juju feel to them...)

avocado kid said...

very intriguing indeed!

kreismyr said...

Wow, this sounds great. Juju is the sweetest genre of them all. I had never heard of this guy. Mad respect for sharing it!

Comb & Razor said...

Glad you like it, kreismyr! I was just checking out your page... some nice stuff you got there!

John B. said...

This is interesting. I have another album by Sunday John, 1990's Egbe-Kegbe (Monades MRLP 001), which I don't think I've even listened to! I'll have to give it a spin.

I've always thought Ebenezer Obey kicked Sunny Ade's ass.

Did you catch this posting on World Service:

Comb & Razor said...

Yeah, I would definitely love to hear that later album!

Funny that it seems to be the first issue from the Monades label... The label on this one says "MONADES" but it also says "The Great Monday John Records" with the serial number "GMJ1," so I went with that!

(It was a bit of a challenge deciding how to label this record in general... The official artist/group name, album title and label are all pretty unclear.)

I was never heavy into juju back in the day of course, but from the little I knew I preferred KSA to Obey because Sunny seemed to "rock" more while Obey appeared more... conservative. He was kinda like your stern, religious father while KSA was more like a cool uncle.

I'm appreciating Obey a lot more, though. I've had a bunch of his records in my crates for years but I never really listened to them until fairly recently.

Thanks for the WrldSrv link... I'll DL that one now.

John B. said...

Oops! I meant MONDAY John, but you knew that!

Comb & Razor said...

Of course, John... Of course! :)

icastico said...

Is Monday John related to
Monday Iyokho?

Comb & Razor said...

Hmmm... That's interesting!

The "O" could very well stand for "Oshodi," couldn't it? But I don't think that guy in the photo looks much like Monday John.

(I guess I better download this album and see if he sounds like him... Thanks for the link!)

icastico said...

Yeah, the pictures look like a different person (although the Monday Oshidi pic is pretty blurred) just seemed like "Monday" was an unusual enough moniker that there was a chance they were the same guy...both albums have great guitar work to boot...although a different style.

Comb & Razor said...

Ha... Yeah, Monday is actually a pretty common name in Nigeria (as are Friday and Sunday... not the rest of the days, though!)

I downloaded the Monday Oshodi Lp but haven't listened to it yet; it looks like it's Bini highlife, yeah? said...

Thanks a lot for sharing ! Obey is such a great musician :)

Mike Janssen said...

This stuff is sweet.