Blo: Phases 1972-1982 (2001)
In 1972, Blo created its own sound, which evolved dramatically over the next ten years. The instrumentation was straight out of rock: guitar, bass, and drums. The approach was pure pophowever you might define it during those crazy timesbut it involved extended, creative improvisation. The music drifted among the sounds of '70s Lagos, pulling together bits and pieces from here and there. The first three tracks on Phases come from Blo's debut, an unadulterated trip through sound and space. The guitar on "Miss Sagit" glides through minor melodies with a decidedly sitar-like sound; "Chant to Mother Earth" features slow, echoing vocals. A couple years later, Blo turned to the deep funk that would remain their hallmark. "It's Gonna Be A Good Day" blends strutting guitar with syncopated bass and drums, carrying an upbeat vocal message and an irrestible call to dance. Only rarely did the group turn back to its Yoruba roots, as on "Atide," featured here. As time progressed, they began to dip into the frenzy of disco, retaining the energy without the faux plastic trim. "Scandi Boogie" (from 1976) stands as the high point of Phases :
It don't need no explanations
You can feel the vibrations...
Are you cool enough to do it?
Gonna do it! Scandi boogie!
How can you say no to that invitation?
Hats off to AfroStrut for bringing together this kaleidoscopic retrospective of a Nigerian band that managed to cross boundaries without ever losing its organic appeal. These guys had fun, no doubt about it.
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Track Listing: Preacher Man; Miss Sagit; Chant to Mother Earth; Blo; It's Gonna Be A Good Day; Don't Take Her Away From Me; Atide; Scandi Boogie; Trace Of Suicide; Number One; Get That Groove In; Loving Caring; Dance In A Circle.
Personnel: Blo: Berkely "Ike" Jones: guitars, vocals; Laolu "Akins" Akintobi: drums, vocals; Mike "Gbenga" Odumosu.
Record Label: AfroStrut
Style: Beyond Jazz