SUPER ELCADOS-TOGETHER IS ALWAYS A GOOD VENTURE-TAMBOURINE PARTY VOLUME 2.

Super Elcados–Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2.

Label: Mr Bongo.

During the early sixties, a  musical revolution took place in Ghana, when musicians started combining elements of West African musical genres including highlife and fuji music which they fused with American funk and jazz. Playing an important part important part in this new genre which later, became known as Afrobeat, were chanted vocals, percussion and complicated converging rhythms. The result was an irresistible, potent and heady musical brew that later, would spread across West Africa.

By the early seventies, Fela Kuti and his band had just returned to Nigeria after a brief stay in America, where they had hurriedly recorded what later became The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions. The album had been recorded quickly, as a promoter had informed the Immigration and Naturalization Service that Fela Kuti and his band had no work permit. Fela Kuti was tipped off that the Immigration and Naturalization Service was about to swoop, and decided to head home to Nigeria.

When Fela Kuti and his band arrived back in Lagos, Nigeria, he decided to rename his group The Afrika ’70. Fela Kuti’s next move was to found the Kalakuta Republic, which was a commune which soon, became home to the many people connected to The Afrika ’70. It also meant that Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 were always ready to practise and record music.

Within the Kalakuta Republic was a recording studio where Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 could work. By then, Fela Kuti was writing song were the lyrical themes ranged from love right through to the various social issues affecting Nigeria. Despite his concern for his fellow Nigerians, Fela Kuti, who was the leader of Kalakuta Republic, declared independent from the Nigerian State. That was still to come.

Having established the Kalakuta Republic, Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 began experimenting musically. They regularly  incorporated disparate musical genres into their This new sound was innovative, and also proved to be influential, when Fela Kuti established a new club that he called Afrika Shine.

That was where Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 first introduced Afrobeat to Nigeria in 1970. Between 1970 and 1975, Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 had a residency at Afrika Shine, in Lagos, and people from all over Nigeria flocked to the club. This included many Nigerian musicians who were inspired by Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70.

During Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 five year residency at Afrika Shine, Afrobeat grew in popularity as bands were formed all across Nigeria. This included Super Elcados, who a year after Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 residency at Afrika Shine ended, released their debut album Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 on EMI Nigeria.

Now some forty-two years later, original copies of Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2  of this uber funky Afrobeat album are almost impossible to find. When  a copy comes up for sale, the price is beyond most record collectors. Thankfully, Mr Bongo have reissued Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 for the first time.

Just like many groups that were formed during the first half of the seventies, Super Elcados had been inspired by Fela Kuti and The Afrika ’70 and the first wave of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneers. However, Super Elcados weren’t content to blindly follow other bands, and were determined to take Afrobeat in a new direction.

This Super Elcados did as they started to play live, and hone their unique and inimitable sound. While the basis for their music was Afrobeat, it also funky, percussion, feel-good music. Super Elcados were soon  a popular live band capable of making music that would get any party started.

With Super Elcados proving popular wherever they played live, it wasn’t long before their irresistible, potent and heady musical brew caught the attention of record companies. This included EMI Nigeria, who managed to secure the signature of Super Elcados.

Having secured the signature of Super Elcados, executives at EMI Nigeria were keen that the band began work on their debut album. This became Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2. 

The eight tracks that Super Elcados decided to include on Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 were a mixture of songs full of social comment, feel-good music, paeans and the poignant Tribute To Murtala Mohammed. These eight tracks were recorded by the nine members of Super Elcados.

When Super Elcados began recording the album, their rhythm section featured drummer and percussionist Baba Mustapha, bassist Tony Nosika and guitarist and organist Geoffrey Johnson. They were joined by lead guitarist Frank Martins, Dave Crown Olugbade who played electric piano and tenor saxophone and percussionist conga player Joe Edem Bassey Edet. Super Elcados’ horns came courtesy of trumpeter Bola Adex and valve trombonist Effiong Jarrett. Meanwhile, lead vocalist Christe Black was accompanied by the other members of Super Elcados. Gradually, Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 started to take shape, and was ready for release in 1976.

When Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2  was released, the album sold steadily, but wasn’t the huge success that EMI Nigeria. Record buyers had missed out on what was a funky and sometimes soulful album of Afrobeat. For the members of Super Elcados this was a disappointment.

Especially given the quality of music that features on Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2. The album opener Tambourine Party finds Super Elcados at their funkiest and melodic, as the track takes on a party atmosphere. Afro Funk finds Super Elcados  locking into a groove during this glorious and memorable fusion of Afrobeat and funk, that sometimes, becomes jazz-tinged and rocky. Straight away, Xray Gun sound as if it’s been inspired by James Brown as a funky, soulful dancefloor filler takes shape. Super Elcados drop the tempo on the beautiful, soulful paean How Much I Love You. Horns and harmonies accompany a heartachingly beautiful vocal.

It’s all change on Ejole, which starts hesitantly before a funky, and later soulful, joyous and rocky slice of Afrobeat starts to take shape. Tribute to Murtala Mohammed is a poignant and soulful track that sounds as if it has been inspired in part by Gil Scott-Heron. Super Elcados change things around on Get up and Do It Good where their rhythm and horn section playing leading roles on a funky, soulful song that is one of the album’s highlights. The tempo drops on Price Of Fame, a thoughtful but funky Afrobeat instrumental  that closes Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2.

When Super Elcados released Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 in 1976, their carefully crafted and accomplished  genre-melting album failed to find the wider audience it so richly deserved. That was a great shame as it was an album without a weak track.

Super Elcados took Afrobeat and funk as their starting point, and combined elements of jazz, rock and soul on Super Elcados released Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2. In doing so, they created eight tracks that veered between feel-good that was joyous, uplifting and irresistible to beautiful, poignant and soulful. The members of Super Elcados had combined the best of American and American music, and in doing so, created an album that was funky, soulful, melodic, memorable and guaranteed to get any party started. If only record buyers had given the album a chance.

Three years later, and Super Elcados returned in 1979 with This World Is Full Of Injustice on EMI. It was another quality album, but proved to be Super Elcados swan-song.

Later in 1979, Elcados released their debut album What Ever You Need. Sadly, that was the Elcados only released

Thirty-nine years later, and the album that started it all off for Super Elcados Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 has just been rereleased by Mr Bongo. By then, Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 had a cult following among some DJs, record collectors and connoisseurs of Afrobeat. Especially, anyone who likes their Afrobeat funky, soulful, melodic and memorable. If they do, then Super Elcados’ album  Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2 won’t disappoint and is guaranteed to get any party started

Super Elcados–Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture-Tambourine Party Volume 2.

 

 

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