SOME STUFFS: Daptone to reissue classic album from member of Fela Kuti’s Afrika 70 band

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His name is Nicholas Addo-Nettey but was also known as Pax Nicholas. Fans of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will know the Nicholas name, but collectors of Afrobeat and Afro-Rock have found it hard to track down not only ever Kuli-related release, but the many musicians and singers who came and went with him in his very rough career. Frank Gossner, whose finds have become masturbatory for fans of things with large and small center holes, found a Pax Nicholas album at a record store in Philly, and it was brought to the attention of the guys at Daptone Records.

The end result is the reissue of Nicholas’s second album Na Teef Know The Road of Teef, an album that has not seen the light of day since its 1973 release. The original Nigerian pressings can easily go up for $100-200+. This new pressing was mastered from vinyl, and anyone who knows about vinyl transfers will tell you that if a master tape isn’t available, this will be the best way to hear it. Gossner’s copy of the LP was pristine, which is a miracle in itself, so fans are going to be in for a treat.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Fela Kuti himself did not approve of this album since it was recorded with other members of his band, Afrika 70, at Ginger Baker‘s recording studio in Lagos. Kuti’s outrage was not held exclusive to his bandmates. It had been reported that when it came time for Paul McCartney to record new music in 1973, he asked EMI about selecting a place that was somewhat out of the ordinary. Lagos, Nigeria was chosen, since there was an EMI division there. What McCartney didn’t know was how primitive the equipment was in Lagos (compared to what he was used to at Abbey Road) but he found it suitable to make music. During the sessions, McCartney stated that Kuti and some of his friends came in wondering who this white man was. McCartney introduced himself, but Kuti wasn’t interested. What Kuti feared was the theft of Kuti’s music and African culture, so he apparently observed some of the sessions. McCartney told him that he didn’t want to cover or record any of Kuti’s music, he just wanted a new environment to record. Kuti put faith in what McCartney said and left he, Linda McCartney, guitarist Denny Laine, and recording engineer Geoff Emerick.

Nonetheless, it was the studio that was the place for countless Kuti records and other Afrobeat records recorded over the years, and now the world will discover the power of Pax Nicholas.

(Na Teef Know The Road of Teef can be pre-ordered in the vinyl and CD formats through Daptone Records.)

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