Search - Fela Kuti :: Black Man's Cry

Black Man's Cry
Fela Kuti
Black Man's Cry
Genres: World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1


CD Details

All Artists: Fela Kuti
Title: Black Man's Cry
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Shanachie
Release Date: 5/1/1992
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Africa
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 016351441324, 016351441348, 740042622944

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CD Reviews

Still relevant after an untimely death
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I arrived back in the United States from Southwestern Nigeria about a week before Fela died, and was able to see (and hear) firsthand the local response to this enigmatic musician. One could barely sit down at a beer parlor or snack bar in Ibadan without hearing "Confusion Break Bones" or "International Thief Theif" coaxing the listener to get lost in the tough, machine-like groove, while Fela indicted the Nigerian leadership for the crimes they have committed (and hopefully will not continue to commit now that Sani Abacha has died). Heady academic journals would debate the man's meaning and global significance, while many of those one met on the street could recount the times they had met the very approachable star. Regrettably, I didn't pick up any of his recordings while there, but this album will more than make up for my errors until next time. With six tracks covering considerable musical distance, those songs that don't reel the listener in the first time will catch up after repeated listenings. Over the Africa 70's tight, funky rhythm section featuring drummer John Allen, Fela and his chorus lay down call and response vocals in the entire harmonic range, a model which the horn section emulates to good effect. The opener "Zombie" stands as the best dance cut -- especially notable are the horn arrangements. Guest appearances by Ginger Baker on "Black Man's Cry" and none other Lester Bowie on "No Agreement" document the exchange between Africa and the West. Lyrics in pidgin English and Yoruba round out the formula -- note that the version of "Suffering and Smiling" included has no lyrics, contrary to the liner notes. If you need an introduction to Fela's music, buy this one and play it loud, repeatedly, and then go to sample the rest of the Afro-beat canon. Recommended."
Music Exceptional, but the record was far better than the CD
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is perhaps Fela's greatest and most representative album. "Lady" and "Shakara" could be heard in parties and bars from Monrovia to Joburg for years. "Lady" I consider to be one of the absolutely classic grooves in the last 30 years of African music, and a powerful statement against the loss of traditional values (to uninformed Western ears, it will sound sexist, but not in context). However, I'm not sure who to blame for the incredibly sloppy mastering (CMS Digitial in California appears not to be embarrassed to take the credit - perhaps their previous experience was heavy metal, who knows) which caused the overly aggressive horns, poorly spaced instruments, harsh mid-ranges, etc. that made me dump the CD in favor of keeping my precious album. (One great reason for keeping your turntable is the overall poor transfer of African music on records to CDs across the genre). Shanachie is to be praised for bringing this music to the West, but to be damned for allowing such a shoddy transfer to see the light of day. (This is not the only case). If you can't get your hands on the record or don't own a turntable, then by all means get the CD for the Fela experience alone."