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Live With Ginger Baker (1971)
Knitting Factory Records
Live with Ginger Baker (1971):
Originally recorded in 1971 and 1978 by Fela Kuti’s band, Africa 70, with the addition of former Cream drummer Ginger Baker, this album contains 4 songs plus a bonus track 16-minute drum duet between Baker and Africa 70’s drummer Tony Allen recorded at the 1978 Berlin Jazz Festival.
Let’s Start: ‘Let us start what we’ve come into the room to do’ is telling it as it is — graphic explicit sex. Sung in Yoruba with some broken English explanations, Fela calls on his partner in the room to get on with it, ‘don’t play the innocent…let’s start! Take off your clothes! Let’s start!’. The recording has Ginger Baker, of the former English pop group ‘Cream’ playing live as guest drummer on some tracks like Let’s Start, in place of Tony Allen, the regular drum player in Fela’s Africa 70 band. The Album titled ‘Live with Ginger Baker’ was recorded in the sixteen track mobile studio Ginger Baker sold to Polygram Nigeria in 1976.
Black Man’s Cry: Black man’s cry is about identity. ‘I am black and proud’ Fela sings in Yoruba, ‘Who says Black is not beautiful! Bring that person out, let me see!’ — he challenges, ‘There is nothing as beautiful as the black skin! Look at me! Look at me very well! There is nothing as beautiful as the black skin! Look at me very well!’. It is a song to rid the black mind of inferiority complex, particularly Africans who use chemical products to bleach their skin, or Africans who feel inferior to the White folks.
Ye Ye De Smell: Ye ye de smell is about people getting what they deserve-reaping what you sow. If you flirt with another person’s wife, you shouldn’t feel bad if people do the same to you. Literally meaning: bullshit stinks. It implies that if you give people bullshit, you should not be surprised if you get the same back from others.
Egbe Mi O (Carry Me I Want To Die): “Egbe Me” in Yoruba language means: Carry me. In this song, Fela is singing about the different kinds of things that happen to you while you dance. How could you go into trance while dancing? How in a state of musical trance, the traditional beads women wear under their skirts break without the woman noticing. How a man’s hat would fall of his head while dancing without him noticing. All kinds of things happen to you doing the dance — but you are not alone! ‘…be ke iwo nikan ko’. Fela ends this track with a general chorus calling everybody together with the band: Egbe Mi O!
- Mabinuori Kayode Idowu
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