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Tunde Williams Play With The Afrika 70 - Mr Big Mouth / Lekan Animashaun & Africa 70 - Low Profile

Tunde Williams Play With The Afrika 70 Mr Big MouthLekan Animashaun and Africa 70 - Low Profile
best of 2005Tunde Williams Play With The Afrika 70 - Mr Big Mouth / Lekan Animashaun & Africa 70 - Low Profile
(CD/2 separate LPs) Honest Jon's, 2004-11-16

Tracklisting LPs :

Tunde Williams plays with The Africa 70 - Mr. Big Mouth
with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (ts, p, prod) originally released as LP Nigeria, Decca Afrodisia, 1977
A. Mr. Big Mouth
B. The Beginning

Lekan Animashaun & Africa 70 - Low Profile
A. Low Profile
B. Serere

Info :
HJR 101LP and HJR 102LP or one CD. 2 legendary Afrobeat albums from Nigeria, featuring Fela Kuti and Tony Allen! Recorded in 1975 & 1979. Never seen in original form and reissued here for the first time, with original artwork.

Press Release :
HJR 101LP Tunde Williams Play With The Afrika 70 - Mr Big Mouth
First reissue of this legendary Afrobeat LP from Nigeria, originally recorded in 1975. Produced by Fela Kuti. "Out of print for years, the release of these albums by Lekan Animashaun and Tunde Williams is a welcome addition to the catalogue of available Afrobeat recordings. In Fela Kuti's band Afrika 70, Tunde was the most consistent soloist, and his trumpet improvisations graced virtually all of the band's 1970s recordings. The tracks for Mr. Big Mouth had been recorded in 1975, but by the time they were released in 1977, Fela was engaged in a bitter battle with the original label, Decca Records. As a result, many of Afrika 70's Decca releases from 1977-8 fell through the proverbial cracks, and Mr. Big Mouth was unfortunately one of them. Although it is a great album, it was given little promotion and as a result, is known only to the most committed Afrobeat aficionados, even in Nigeria. The music on Mr. Big Mouth is similar in feel and mood to other Afrika 70 releases from this time on Decca's Afrodisia imprint such as Fela's No Agreement, Stalemate, and Fear Not for Man, and Tony Allen's No Accomodation for Lagos. The title track is typical of Afrika 70's uptempo grooves and like much of Fela's music the lyrics are socially-critical in tone, although unlike Fela's songs, Tunde's lyrics are not directed at the government. Rather, he says the title track was a commentary on 'some of the indigenous contractors at that time. The government would give these contractors money to complete a job, and instead they would take the money and surround themselves with women, fancy clothes, and flashy cars, and go around the town bragging like big shots. The jobs never got done, and many of them ended up going to jail for defrauding the government. That's what I was singing about.' Tunde's mid-tempo instrumental 'The Beginning' is certainly one of the most infectious tracks to come out of Fela's organization. The laid-back Afrobeat groove is dark and suspenseful, and one can easily hear why the song was often played during Afrika 70's warm-up sets, as it perfectly sets the tone for a late, smoky night at the Afrika Shrine. After leaving Fela in 1978, Tunde was in heavy demand as a session trumpeter in Lagos. His credits from this time are numerous, including Manu Dibango's seminal Home Made set (the first of Dibango's LPs to be fully recorded in Africa), and Orlando Julius Ekemode.

HJR 102LP Lekan Animashaun & Africa 70 - Low Profile
First reissue of this legendary Afrobeat LP from Nigeria, originally recorded in 1979. Produced by Fela Kuti. "Baba Ani's two songs here were tinkered with over a period of years, but the basic tracks date from the last days of the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, around 1979. This was a tough time for the Afrika 70 organization, which was still recovering from the military attack (allegedly ordered by Obasanjo) that was launched on Fela's 'Kalakuta Republic' in February 1977, as well as the departure of Tony Allen and most of the Afrika 70 band following the Berlin Festival in 1978. By mid-1979, Fela had finally opened his new Afrika Shrine in Ikeja (an outlying suburb of Lagos). Animashaun was appointed bandleader of the new band, which was also named Afrika 70 until 1981 when Fela rechristened it Egypt 80. The opening of the new Afrika Shrine ended over two years of harassment and performances forcibly aborted by the government and soldiers of the Nigerian Army. Nevertheless, Fela's battles with the Nigerian authorities continued, and were particularly severe during the early 1980s. As a result, Baba Ani's songs remained unreleased for years until they were finally released on Fela's Kalakuta Records as Kalakuta 003. Even then, Animashaun laments that the release wasn't given much promotion by the label's staff. As a result, Low Profile remained primarily familiar to the faithful attendants of the Afrika Shrine, while 'Serere (Do Right)' given a bit more exposure, used as Egypt 80's set opener. Animashaun's two songs were social criticisms of a sort, filtered through Fela's Afrobeat experience. The title of 'Serere' (Do Right) is self-explanatory; the lyrics ask the listener to act constructively in society, regardless of professional or social status. The title Low Profile (Not for the Blacks) takes as its inspiration comments made in late 1976 by then-General Olusegun Obasanjo. In response to a surge in armed robberies at the height of the Nigerian oil boom, General Obasanjo urged Nigerians to avoid ostentatious displays of wealth and to adopt a 'low profile,' in order to discourage the thieves who preyed upon the Nigerian nouveau-riche. Animashaun disagreed with this sentiment, recalling 'I was trying to say that a 'low profile' is not for black people. Black people are supposed to be living like kings and queens. Why should our rulers be telling us to live a low profile, while they themselves are living a 'high profile' in [the upscale areas of] Ikoyi and Victoria Island?'. Taken together, Mr. Big Mouth and Low Profile contribute two of the most important pieces of the puzzle.


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