It’s Tuesday and by now I should be damn near puking after six more hill repeats up Welland Vale Rd. while HRH is at her swimming lessons. But not tonight – I’m on my “Recovery Week”, bitch. Instead, I went and had a haircut, braved the aisles at Walmart (and left empty-handed after having a near meltdown in the middle of the store), grabbed a Timmies and now I’m enjoying doing sweet fuck all with another record while I wait for Kelly to make with the Tuesday night subs. Life ain’t so bad. Shit, I might actually be enjoying this whole recovery thing. Tonight’s sweet FA vinyl is the ‘Juju Music‘ album by King Sunny Ade and his African Beats.
This is another album in my collection from whence I have no idea how it got there. I probably had no idea who King Ade was when I picked it up. I was more than likely high and wandered some flea market somewhere and it it caught my eye for 25 cents so I decided, ‘fuck it, why not?‘. That’s just how I rolled back then.
Being older and wiser, I now know that Sunny Ade is a Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has even been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time. So, yeah, I’m listening to Nigerian pop music on a Tuesday night in December. Sue me.
‘Juju Music’ is King Sunny’s 1982 major label debut. It represents the first worldwide release for Adé, who was already established in his native Nigeria as its “biggest musical draw and juju music’s reigning monarch”. The album was a critical and commercial success, peaking at #111 on Billboard’s “Pop Albums” chart. The New York Times, which described the album in 1982 as “the year’s freshest dance-music album”, credited it in 1990 with having launched the “World Beat movement in the United States”. This album basically introduces the rest of the world to Afro-pop, or what’s better known as “juju” music, a tough dance music that freely draws on the traditions of the Yoruba, Nigeria’s largest tribe.
Over the course of seven extended cuts, King Sunny Ade & His African Beats lay down their trademark mix of talking drum-driven grooves, multi-guitar weaves, lilting vocal harmonies, and pedal steel accents; for this major-label debut, the band also chucks in some tasteful synthesizer bits and a few reggae-dub flourishes. Besides classic juju pop like ‘Ja Funmi‘ and ‘Ma Jaiye Oni‘, Ade and his 20-piece entourage serve up percussion breakdowns like ‘Sunny Ti de Ariya‘ and a heady blend of soul, dub, and synth noodlings on ‘365 Is My Number/The Message‘. Throughout, Ade deftly inserts Hawaiian slide guitar licks and Spanish-tinged lines reminiscent of Hendrix’ ‘All Along the Watchtower‘. I shit you not.
Am I cultured or what?