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.
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. 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. 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:
|A3||So So Mi La So||3:13|
|A5||Ye Tie Wo||4:17|
|B1||Che Che Kule||6:28|
|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