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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

Fela

By Tad Hendrickson
Published October 2, 2008

Algabon Close/Why Black Man Dey Suffer
Wrasse

As has been happening with the Fela reissues in recent years, this is a twofer – this time collecting Alagbon Close and Why Black Man Dey Suffer. The latter was recorded in 1970 but not released until 1986 because of the controversial nature of the title and lyrics, while the former was recorded in 1974 and released in the States the following year. Alagbon Close is actually controversial on own right, detailing the brutality Fela saw first hand at the Lagos police station of the same name. The music (each album has two songs) is up to Fela and the group’s usual early-‘70s standards thanks to Tony Allen manning the drum chair. Fela’s saxophone work is solid as well, but interestingly his keyboard work seems happily a little more precise than usual on the tracks “Alagbon Close” and “I No Get Eye For Back.” Neither of these are revelations or landmarks, but simply more good material by the man during his creative zenith.