These twelve astonishing tracks are drawn from a broad spectrum of early 70s West African psychedelic classics. Yet the fact that they scarcely registered on the Richter scale of contemporary underground music must surely be one of the greatest ironies of modern popular music, given that western counterculture drew so heavily on the musical, aesthetic and visual traditions of Africa.
Musically, the transatlantic links are strong and obvious; from the urban black American soul and funk of James Brown, through the West Coast sounds of Hendrix, to the deeper grooves of Cuban rumba and Latin percussion. During these years a nod in the direction of Detroit, Los Angeles or Havana was still more important than learning the latest lines from Lagos, Kinshasa or Accra.
But by the early 70s the transition from the direct imitation of western pop was well underway, and if the period of ‘authenticité’ had not yet arrived, there was certainly sufficient experimentation by a younger generation of musicians, producers and studio engineers to mark out this era as something special. This compilation represents a unique period of musical cross-fertilization as the influence of the Beatles and Elvis steadily gave way to that of Franco and Fela.