Search - Fela Kuti :: Mr Follow Follow

Mr Follow Follow
Fela Kuti
Mr Follow Follow
Genres: World Music, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (2) - Disc #1


      
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CD Details

All Artists: Fela Kuti
Title: Mr Follow Follow
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Terrascape
Release Date: 2/25/1997
Genres: World Music, Pop
Style: Africa
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 026617400224

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CD Reviews

This cd has songs from 2 Fela cds
M. C Whitmore | Jefferson, Md USA | 08/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This cd has only 2 songs on it Mr.Follow Fellow that is on the Zombie cd and Who No Know Go Know from the Everything Scatter/Noise For Vendor Mouth cd.The music fine."
In A Fela Mood
Laszlo Matyas | 09/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a somewhat confusing item in the Fela Kuti catalgoue. All of its tracks (all two of em!) had, as far as I can gather, been officially released almost a decade before this compilation(?) appeared in 1986. Fela's discography is daunting, complicated, and often just plain poorly managed. Songs appear on multiple albums, separate albums end up having identical (but reshuffled) track listings, individual LPs are erratically issued and reissued with different tracks. It's a big mess, really, and the absence of reliable discographical information only makes the problem worse. In essence, it all boils down to this: Fela Kuti albums typically consisted of two (sometimes three, occasionally just one) lengthy funk jams, each one taking up a side of vinyl. Since the songs were usually around twelve or thirteen minutes long, Fela albums would frequently last less than half an hour, occupying some weird netherworld between "proper" albums and EPs. His albums also "felt" like singles, not only because of the one-song-per-side format, but also because the two songs rarely had much to do with each other; Fela albums are still cohesive and all, not because of conceptual unity, but because all of his songs sounded about the same. They were all AWESOME, of course, but still somewhat interchangeable. However, the "A" sides of his albums did tend to contain the more energetic, immediate, and catchy of the songs. As such, they tended to be more prominently featured than their accompanying "B" sides. Albums tended to be named after their "A" sides, with "B" tunes often being marginalized and treated as filler.

And therein lies the confusion. In 1977, Fela released "Zombie," an epic and beastly good protest funk breakdown that became a huge hit in Nigeria. In classic Fela style, it appeared on the "A" side of Zombie, which in turn went on to become Kuti's most popular album. Problem is, it's difficult to ascertain just what else was on the Zombie album. Some reissues (and online discographies) identify the album as a three-tracker, with "Monkey Banana" and "Everything Scatter" on the "B" side. Others offer the more traditional two tracks, with "Zombie" on top and "Mr. Follow Follow" on the flip. Adding to the confusion is the fact that (again, in classic Fela style) both "Monkey Banana" and "Everything Scatter" had already appeared as the "A" sides of previous LPs. The "B" side to "Everything Scatter" was "Who No Know Go Know," which, interestingly enough, is the "B" side here, as well.

As well as I can figure it, here's what happened: Zombie was hastily issued in 1977, with two different tracklistings. Since most people would rather have three songs than two, and since the old albums with "Monkey Banana" and "Everything Scatter" had come out before Fela's music had become particularly popular, most people bought the three-track version. Which means that most people's Fela collections lacked both "Mr. Follow Follow" and the "B" sides to "Monkey Banana" and "Everything Scatter." Hence this compilation. Annoyingly, it doesn't include "Sense Wiseness," the flip side to "Monkey Banana," but I guess that the nature of a vinyl LP ruled that possibility out.

So, what we have here is basically a Fela Kuti "B Sides And Rarities" compilation, except it only has two tracks. Now, Fela Kuti "B" sides, inasmuch as they differ from "A"s, tend to me more languid, more laid-back, more melodic, and more meditative. These two tracks are no exception. The title track features a long, stately horn buildup, with some really beautiful solos unfurling in between bulging, boisterous group choruses. Fela's vocal performance would be seductive if the lyrics weren't laced with bitter sociopolitical rage. Fela Kuti was a great singer, by the way, with a knack for stirring the passions, for venting his revolutionary rage convincingly, and for tempering his pretensions with humor and sheer showman's glee. He does all of that here, and the fact that he does it without having to divebomb and bellow the way he does on tracks like "Zombie" and "J.J.D." reveals just how good he was at this whole "music" thing.

"Who No Know Go Know" proceeds in a similar manner. I think it's my favorite of the two, since it's more ethereal and dreamy, and it features great use of an electric piano (one of my favorite musical instruments), and it's got a rumbling bass line, and an even more seductive vocal. It's also three minutes longer than "Mr. Follow Follow," and, because of the generally high quality of his music (especially when it comes to jammin'), Fela Kuti is one of the few artists where longer is usually better.

But as enjoyable and as beautiful as Mr. Follow Follow most certainly is, I can't give it the maximum rating. Without the roaring, raging funk found on most of his other albums, this is a less inviting, less blood-curdling, less exciting record than his very best work. It's classic fourth gear stuff, but four simply ain't five."