Osibisa – Heads

I saw an album cover in a Facebook group I’m a member of, and it must have stuck with me as the next time I saw an Osibisa album in the shop I bought it, and it wasn’t a cheap £1 job either. I have no problem with trying things that I have never listened to before, on recommendation, but also sometimes just because I feel like it. You win some you lose some.

In the case of Osibisa, I won. I saw the third album, Heads, in the used record shop and bought it. Got it home and gave it a spin. I absolutely love it.

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So, in case you didn’t know (and I didn’t) Osibisa are a British Afrobeat band, founded in London in 1969 by four expatriate African and three Caribbean musicians. Their music is a fusion of African, Caribbean, jazz, funk, rock, Latin, and R&B. Osibisa were one of the first African-heritage bands to become widely popular and linked with the establishment of world music as a marketable genre.

Somebody uploaded all the tracks to youtube so feel free to have a listen.

I played it loud as there was nobody else home at the time and it absolutely rocks (or whatever the equivalent is for this genre).

I do remember seeing them over the years particularly as the artwork for one of the albums was by Roger Dean, who did all those Yes covers: Dean agreed to work on the cover of Osibisa (1971) by afrobeat band Osibisa. The design is a result of a brief that Dean described as “credible African fairytale imagery” and features “flying elephants and not architecture”, which became an early representation of the style he later achieved fame with.[2] Dean considered the job a breakthrough for his career as the design was made into a poster by the Big ‘O’ poster company which sold a large number of copies.[2] He later said, “From that point on I could do what I wanted”

I can’t recall ever having listened to them though or where I first became aware of them, they were just a piece of limited knowledge that I’ve carried around in my head for years, until now. Maybe there was a single in the 80’s that I saw on TV. Hang on………………………….. OK, I just did a search, They performed The Warrior on Top of the Pops at some point in the late 70’s, which I could well have seen:

A further search reveals this from 1976, a song I definitely know even if I may not have seen this performance:

Heads Tracklist

A1 Kokorokoo 4:35
A2 Wango Wango 4:31
A3 So So Mi La So 3:13
A4 Sweet America 4:21
A5 Ye Tie Wo 4:17
B1 Che Che Kule 6:28
B2 Mentumi 3:47
B3 Sweet Sounds 5:12
B4 Do You Know 4:49

I really love that I have stumbled across this band and that they have an extensive back catalogue to explore. It gives me more to look out for when I am digging around record shops and fairs. Looking forward to learning and hearing more.

Oh, and the album gets a rating of (this could go up or down as I get to listen to it more in the future): 8.8

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