Dec 20, 2010

African Psychedelic: Ofege - Try and Love



Information

This album is the first reissue project on the new Academy LPs imprint, which is an offshoot of the generally awesome Academy Records store in Williamsburg Brooklyn. A group of secondary school teenagers from Lagos, Nigeria cut this record in the early 70's. With guitars chiming in the forefront, the band romps through a set of killer Afrodelic psych-rock. Apparently it was a huge success in Nigeria when it was released, and it is not hard to see why. These dudes prove there was more to the Afro rock sound than endless Fela funk jams.

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Ofege was formed by a bunch of teenage hipsters at the prestigious St. Gregory's College in the Obalende area of Lagos. Comband Razor described them as "a cross between the Bay City Rollers and Santana". He also said "It's clear that for Ofege, songs were largely incidental, little more than excuses to launch into insane, distorted guitar solos. It's also very clear that they smoked a lot of weed."

"The Last Of The Origins" is a great rock record with a rather psychedelic approach. The rhythm section is attractive and complex and has African inspirations. The songs themselves aren’t really great lyrically, but the drive is incredible, and everywhere they can they add attention to instrumental parts where the organ, in a psychedelic way takes care of mind-losing groove, while fuzz guitars soar and improvise. The vocals can be post-60s, a bit Stones like or just leave themselves flooding with the psychedelic drive.

"Try and Love" from the same year was published actually before "The Last of the Origins". "Nobody Fails" continues in the same vain, with slight what I called post-60s harmony vocals (also especially “It’s not easy” has such vocals). Also here in this song the fuzz breaks out/breaks free, wild and uncompromising, while the rhythms in an African way are repeated and smoothly carry the song. Also here the bits of funky elements are completely dissolved in the psychedelic effect of all. The rhythms are complex and groovy.

It took some years before other albums appeared. Some members still had to finish university.

Paul Alade (bass, vocals), Dapo Olumide (keyboards), Melvin Noks (= Melvin Anokuru or Melvin Ukachi ?) (guitar, lead vocals, percussion), M-Ike Meme (drums, vocals, percussion) and Filix Inneh (vocals, gong).

Source is the amazing psychemusic.org!!! Thank you very much for this information!!

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A blistering set of Afro-Funk from the 70s – the debut of Ofege, a band of high school students at the time! There's a really trippy sound to the set, as the guitars figure strongly in the groove, and are often recorded with some slightly psychedelic touches – similar to Blo or some of the other headier groups of this generation. Wah wah lines often mix in with straighter fuzzed-out solos – all driven strongly together by quick-snapping drums – and vocals are by a young-voiced singer who brings some sweet soul touches to the English-language lyrics – a nice contrast to the heavier sounds of the guitars! Titles include "Nobody Fails", "It's Not Easy", "Ofege", "You Say No", "Lead Me On", and "Try & Love".

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Nigerian high school students. Afrobeat/pop with psych-fuzz guitar solos. Very very catchy stuff! It may sound a little slight at first, but the tunes really grow on you, and the grooves are as irresistable as a Fela record. This one goes for hundreds of bucks on eBay. One track from this album appears on the African volume of the Peace, Love, and Poetry series.

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Long acknowledged as a masterpiece of psychedelic Afro-Rock, Academy Records is proud to present the debut of Nigerian group OFEGE. Recorded while the band members were still in high school, Ofege's debut album Try And Love was originally recorded & released in 1973. Due to their vibrant combo of sweet harmonies, hooks & fuzz, they would become one of the most legendary Nigerian groups of all time. Fully licensed and painstakingly mastered from the best possible sources, Try and Love is available as a high quality virgin vinyl pressing and a deluxe digipack CD. Both versions have brand new liner notes with an interview about the recordings of Try And Love.

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Tracklist

01. Nobody Fails 4:24
02. Whizzy Ilabo 3:32
03. Gbe Mi Lo 4:15
04. Try And Love 4:19
05. It's Not Easy 4:25
06. Ofege 4:00
07. You Say No 4:09
08. Lead Me On 3:23

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