Sunday, March 18, 2007

Osibisa - Osibisa (1971)



Osibisa - Osibisa (1971)

First album from Ghanian rock collective, fusing the 'criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness' (the translation of the band's name) of their native highlife music with acid guitar, prog sensibilities and jazz improvisation.

'Osibisa' was formed in London, England in 1969. The nucleus of the band was from Ghana, others, like the unbelievable guitarist Wendell Richardson, came from Antigua; the bass player who was simply known as Spartacus (I'm Spartacus!) was from Grenada; the keyboard player from Trinidad; and the saxophonist was from Nigeria. However, what they all had in common was great musical rhythm, enthusiasm, and ability. Their music was borrowed from Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, African based drum music, Rock, Pop, and Latin Groove, to create quite an original sound. In Ghanaian 'Osibisa' means 'criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness'. Now, how one word can say all that I do not know, but that is exactly how the music sounds, and they are the very words that introduce the first song on this, Osibisa's first, album aptly titled "Dawn". Like a breath of fresh air, Osibisa's music first came to prominence with the release of their first single "Music for Gong Gong'', included here on their first album, which was released at the tail end of 1970. It is a piece of music that will get even the most conservative of souls out boogieing on the dance floor. So it was great expectations when their first album was released in the early days of 1971 and the boys did not disappoint, arriving as it did when Prog-Rock was in its heyday. Each of these percussive driven songs blew away all the pretensions of those serious minded twiddlers in the likes of Yes, King Crimson, etc. Osibisa's unbridled enthusiasm was so infectious, you could not help but be dragged along by the sheer exuberance of it all. Although Osibisa's main strength was in their live concerts, they could also drum up a storm (quite literally) in the studio. Nobody at the time could have realized how influential their music was going to be in years ahead. Osibisa today is still known as the Godfather of 'World Music', and the effect of their big hit single "Sunshine Day" (1975) was to change the disco scene for ever. But this, their first album, was to set the template of the Osibisa sound for eternity. The band is still going today, albeit with only two of the seven original members left, which actually is not bad by today's standards considering that the band is now in their 35th year. Many of the songs on this collection are still in the band's live repertoire today. Like all good albums, the songs on this set play like a live concert. Opener "Dawn", which begins with the immortal translation of Osibisa, builds on a rhythm of percussion until giving way to let the individual soloist bring the song to a rousing conclusion - some seven and a half minutes later. You then get five other songs of criss-cross rhythms before being brought to a riotous climax by "Think About The People". When a band starts off its career with such a strong album, it is often difficult to keep up the standards set by its debut (especially with an ever changing line-up - Wendell Richardson, the band?s simply stunning lead guitarist, was at one stage lured away by British rockers "Free"). So it is perhaps true to say that Osibisa's studio output has been a little patchy since then, although their live concerts have never been short of marvelous, always led by Teddy Osei out front on drums, sax, fluttering flute, and vocals. This, their first album, is nothing short of a diamond. (Kim Fletcher)

Tracklist:

1. Dawn
2. Music for Gong Gong
3. Oyiko Bia
4. Akwaaba
5. Oranges
6. Phallus C.
7. Think About the People

Osibisa - Osibisa (1971)

30 comments :

bannermike said...

I remember this album from my youth but haven't heard it for more than thirty years. Thank you so much for sharing.

pyrata said...

I was looking for this for quite a while.
thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ta :O)

Slidewell said...

Cool Roger Dean cover. Excellent excursion into horn-driven Afrocentric Funk.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

God - does this bring back such happy memories. I "lost" this album over thirty years ago, now I've found it again!
Thank you

Paxjorge said...

Absolutely great stuff, thank you so much - I'll have a look for the German stuff you're looking for, as I live in Belgium which, incidentally, has been invaded often enough for there to be some chance of -after they stole ALL our art- a random German folk/rock album lying about in a local library... ;-) Cheers

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, this album seems a moisture from Weather Report + Passport with a little spice of Santana. That´s marvelous music resemble a happiness. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, this album seems a moisture from Weather Report + Passport with a little spice of Santana. That´s marvelous music resemble a happiness. Wonderful.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, this album seems a moisture from Weather Report + Passport with a little spice of Santana. That´s marvelous music resemble a happiness. Wonderful.

ye old hippy said...

Applause !! Listening to this album makes me feel..34 years younger :)
Thanks and have another beautiful day in paradise !

Music For Fun said...

I have a couple of Osibisa albums if you’re interested:
Ayiko Bia @ 256
http://rapidshare.de/files/17622475/OAB.zip

Happy Children @ 192
http://rapidshare.de/files/17619434/OHC.zip

You can DL and repost or delete, whatever - PW is tuneZfull

Anonymous said...

@ music for fun: I get wrong PW for Happy Children (tuneZfull doesn't work), have u any idea of the correct one?

BTW the selftitled album is great, they were good live too.

Now To The Power Of Now said...

If you enjoy this I might suggest "Cymande". A british group of black musicians mixing Soul / Jazz, Rock & world influences into a very nice mix.

Rainbow Demon said...

People seem to forget that Osibisa helped Uriah Heep out on the title cut of their LP "Look At Yourself"; providing the driving percussive ending of that classic... Manfred Mann also makes an appearance on that LP.

What a great time that was. All the corroborations that were going on in the early seventies made the music very exciting...

You may want to check out "Woyaya" if you like this one. I play the cut "Spirits Up Above" regularly on my little college radio show. Funky Gospel Blues. I remember seeing Alvin Ailey correographing this number into his 1973 show in NYC at the time.

Peace,
=RD=

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, I just found this blog and it is amazing. Would you be willing to reupload this?

SCION said...

Please re-post.

jAy @ jApAn said...

this is my new blog:

http://whatfuckedyou.blogspot.com/

rock, metal, lo-fi japanese pop, obscure recordings, and comedy/novelty records all here with much more to come.

I've just begun this blog and sharing some interesting bits of my collection, so i hope you can swing by and check it out. also, i would like to add a link to your blog on my front page, if possible; and i hope you can do the same for me.

i love your postings and look forward to hearing from you.
cheers,
jay in japan

Theo said...

Hey got any more by these guys? it RULES!
thanks a ton

ionplayer said...

Lovely - Thanks Freaky! I saw these guys live in Sydney back in the 70s, just amazing. Hundreds of people dancing on seats & each other.

raspberrysnotgobblingwizard said...

One of those albums I listened to at school....long long ago.
Thanks for putting it up here.
And a very interesting blog.

strangefruit said...

Bannermike must be about my age. I remember listening to this in late high school around 1972. I had not thought of them since shortly after that until now. MAJOR blast from the past! Almost spooky.

Alli said...

I went to download the OSIBISA album and says file not found......
What a sad day........

Cinthia said...

heeeeyyyyy i cant download the disk!!!!! and it's a damn good one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Still Looking said...

Try:

http://www.mediafire.com/?6wwvdgwqljm

Arv_Pd said...

thanks for the excellent post. http://www.mediafire.com/?6wwvdgwqljm this link works.

Anonymous said...

Kostas: Amazing group!
I saw them live in Athens. Greece, in 1976! My first concert, ever!!
Thanx!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the excellent post. http://www.mediafire.com/?6wwvdgwqljm this link works.

Thenks a lot of!

Lesserdevil said...

I have this on vinyl. This is the first time I have ever seen it anywhere else.

Pjotr said...

Thank you for this music. Nice.

david said...

FYI

All you Osibisa hipsters, this is to inform you that one of the 3 founding members of Osibisa, Mac Tontoh, died in August after suffering a stroke. He had not being faring well for some time.

May he rest in peace.

1. http://www.ghanacelebrities.com/2010/08/17/mac-tontoh-of-osibisa-is-dead/

2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/africa/2010/08/100818_osibisa_mac_tontoh_death.shtml