Cult Classic: Zack and Geebah– For The Love Of Money.

Tabansi Records was founded in Nigeria in 1950, and filled a void when major labels like Decca and then  Philips closed the doors on their Nigerian operations. Chief (Dr) G.A.D. Tabansi who lent his name to what would become Nigeria’s most important label, recorded artists and then pressed the records at The United African Company’s pressing plant. After that, record vans promoted the latest releases in Nigerian villages. This was just the start for Tabansi Records.

In the sixties, The United African Company decided to concentrate on importing American and European music. With very little competition, Tabansi Records was able to concentrate on local  music, which The United African Company had turned its back on. This was a big mistake.

During the seventies, Tabansi Records was the most successful Nigerian label, and its founder  Chief (Dr) G.A.D. Tabansi was one of the leading light’s of country’s thriving and vibrant music scene. He had invested in the company he had founded in Onitsha, Lagos, alll these years ago, which now  had its own studios and pressing plant. The company was going from strength-to-strength.

By the eighties, Chief (Dr) G.A.D. Tabansi was joined in the company by his son Godwin. He helped with promotion and developing the artists on the Tabansi roster. This included many of Nigeria’s young and up-and coming musicians plus some of its biggest names including reggae star Majek Fashek and Felix ‘Lover Boy’ Liberty. There were many more artists who released albums on Tabansi, including Zack and Geebah, who released the album For The Love Of Money. 

For those who have yet to discover the delights of For The Love Of Money, it’s an album that features elements of Afrobeat, boogie, disco and reggae from the Liberian duo Zack and Geebah who  met in the mid-seventies.

That was when Zack Roberts and Geebah Swaray, who were both born and brought up in Liberia, but first met in Monrovia. This was after businessman Tonia Williams founded the band Liberian Dreams who released a couple of singles. After that, the group moved to Abidjan seeking further musical opportunities.

Back  home in Liberia, there was a coup in 1980, and rather than risk heading home, Zack and Geebah made their way to Nigeria where they worked as session musicians. These sessions led to their debut album For The Love Of Money, which was released on Tabansi in 1980, and straight away, was a huge commercial success across West Africa. 

Despite its success in 1980, For The Love Of Money is now a rarity which nowadays, changes hands for large sums of  money. Collectors want to hear an album where the six tracks on For The Love Of Money feature elements of Afrobeat, boogie, disco and reggae. Its a heady and tantalising brew.

Opening the album is  No Peace No Love, the first or two slices of classic boogie. The other is the title-track For The Love Of Money. They’re joined by the soulful sounding My Luck Will Shine and Home Is Home, a carefully crafted fusion of funk and reggae that hints at Toots and The Maytals. It gives way to one of the album’s highlights, Take It Easy which has an island funk influence. Then Rock To The Music which sounds like an instruction closes the album on  a resounding high. 

Zack and Geebah’s 1980 debut For The Love Of Money is a dancefloor friendly, funky and soulful and literarily oozes quality. It’s also album that is a reminder of the quality of music that Tabansi released during their eighties’ heyday. During the eighties, Tabansi with Chief (Dr) G.A.D. Tabansi was Nigeria’s premier label. The label had the uncanny knack of being able to spot and develop talent like Zack and Geebah whose 1980 debut album For The Love Of Money was one of the finest albums released on Tabansi in the early eighties and nowadays, is regarded as a cult classic. 

Cult Classic: Zack and Geebah– For The Love Of Money.

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