Dec 30, 2009

BLO - Chapter One

A legendary Underground Afro-funk recording in 1972, including some obscure, dark Psych funk cuts & African beats, like in "Chant To Mother Earth" & "Preacherman".

This band from Nigeria became very famous among collectors around the world.One rarest album from Africa, for sure! The history tell us "BLO" name is from B for Berkely, L for Laolu and O for Odumosu. Exist a very limited reissue too (500 copies).

Blo (aka BLO) were an early 70's African band that fused the Afrobeat rhythms of their native Nigeria with the mind-expanding psychedelia and funk of late 60's rock from the Western world. The three members, Berkely Jones, Laolu Akintobi and Mike Odumosu created the name BLO from B for Berkely, L for Laolu and O for Odumosu. Their debut record, Chapter One, is considered by many to be one of the most sought after albums from Africa. While it isn't nearly as funky as their following albums, it still stands as one of the best psych-funk albums to ever come out of Africa.

Chapter One walks the line between rock, funk and psychedelia. Perhaps the most obvious reward in listening to this album is the great guitar work featured prominently throughout the length of the album. At times it is straight forward and driving, yet most of the time it has an "out of this world" psychedelic sound to it. On the instrumental track, "Miss Sagitt", it even sounds Arabic towards the latter half of the track. The bass and drums are fantastic also, but most of the “African beat" was reduced to traces because they were in fact completely absorbed into the heavy rock drive. As for the vocals, they are sparse throughout, and the majority of these tracks would be instrumentals were it not for the occasional vocal outburst. The group would change direction after this album after being pressured by their label to make a more funk dominated record.


The Blo experience is best heard on RPM’s Chapters and Phases (2009). This reissue includes both the Chapter One (1973) and Phase II LPs in their entirety.

Blo (based out of Lagos) grew out of the Clusters, a popular late 60s group who made ends meet by covering Beatles and Stones tunes. Before long people began refering to the Clusters as the “Nigerian Beatles” but the group also soaked up the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and local hero Fela Kuti. To make a long story short things did not work out for the Clusters who included future Blo members Akintobi and guitarist/songwriter Berkley Jones. In 1972 Blo made their Christmas debut at Lagos City Stadium and by all accounts blew supporting act Osibisa off stage. Lagos City Stadium housed 10,000 vistors strong, all who were chanting “we want Blo” that day - a trio they had never seen before!

Press reports began describing Blo as Africa’s first real rock band. Following the explosive live performance at Lagos City EMI issued Chapter One in the summer of 73. At the time nothing sounded quite like it. The album is an extraordinary mixture of funky James Brown beats and spacey psychedelic guitar jams (check out the superb instrumental ”Miss Sagitt”). Album opener “Preacherman” combines both these styles into something really far out and classic. The spiraling acid guitar solos and shuffling drum work really stand out on this cut. Brilliant. Every song is worth listening to multiple times but I’ll single out all 6 minutes of “Don’t” for it’s hazy, hypnotic vibe that’s similiar to early Can.

Sadly, Blo never really broke out of Nigeria despite having the look, superior chops, and an excellent batch of songs.



01. Preacher Man
02. Time to Face the Sun
03. Beware
04. We Gonna Have a Party
05. Don't
06. Chant to Mother Earth
07. We are out Together
08. Miss Sagitt (Instrumental)

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