Masekela - The Boy's Doin' It

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Masekela - The Boy's Doin' It

Hugh Masekela - trumpet & vocal / OJ Ekemode - horn & vocal / Stanley Todd Kwesi - guitar & vocal / Papa Frankie Todd - traps / Yaw Opoku - bass & vocals / Adelaja Gboyega - piano / Odinga "Guy" Warren - Shekere / Asante - talking drums & vocals / Kwasi "Rocki" Dzidzornu - congas

 

Recorded in Lagos, Nigeria

Released: Casablanca Records, 1975

 

Dedicated to Fela Ransome-Kuti

 

My favorite book by Salman Rushdie is Midnight's Children. My favorite Haruki Murakami is The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half a Yellow Sun. Michael Chabon - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. These are all authors who have written a large number of wonderful books, but it is the first one that I read which sticks with me as a favorite. This somehow happens with me often for writers, but almost never with musicians. This album is the exception. Hugh Masekela has a huge catalogue of music... of tremendous, incredible music. He's at the absolute pinnacle of South African music, which is no small feat in a country so rich in music (maybe Abdullah Ibrahim/Dollar Brand is his equal, but few others come close). He's led his own bands, he's played with several legendary musicians from around the world, he's produced and mentored innumerable musicians to say little of his political activism and community work.

 

So, there's an astounding quantity of music from Hugh Masekela and it covers a large range styles. As you might guess from the fact that this album is on Casablanca Records, it is an album with a more modern, popular sound (I hesitate to say "American" and I'll explain why shortly). It's not the funk of fellow label-mates Parliament or the disco sounds of Donna Summer. The album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria and there must have been something in the air back then and there, because it is magically funky. It doesn't sound like Fela Kuti at all, but there is a shared energy. Hugh fled South Africa after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, first to London and then to New York. His roots were deep in African music (especially, but not limited to South African music), but his eyes and ears were opened to the whole world's musical experience. This record reflects that undeniably... and it is undeniably funky.    

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