[11] King Sunny Ade – Best of the Classic Years

21 Jun

This classic Juju recording is simply an all day long groove.

The Best of the Classic Years

The Best of the Classic Years












The layered percussion, the talking drums, the virtuoso steel guitar riffs all combine to have you bobbing your head and swaying your body for as long as these extended and upbeat jams are playing.

Moon categorizes this album as “World/Nigeria“, and this is consistent with how he describes the foreign recordings throughout, but this is Pop of the highest order. It is “poppy” in the sense that it is undeniably fun and accessible, as well as being “popular”, both in terms of sales and critical acclaim.

The rhythms are irresistible – hypnotic and uplifting – and evoke the heat and energy of a summer beach party as strongly as any Beach Boys record even if I don’t understand the melodic lyrics.

The fluid and technically impressive guitar work – by as many as four guitarists at a time – remind me of great rock instrumentalist like The Shadows or even Buddy Holly’s Crickets.

But it is the talking drums that anchor the rhythm and lead the tune, percussion and melody in one compact and compelling package.

The cheery, choral vocal harmonies are almost an afterthought across all of the syncopated tracks that make up the album.

In all, it feels like somebody found a way to capture effervescence on tape, to bottle fun . . .

There really is little more to say in this case. Here is an example of exactly what I was hoping to discover when I began my journey – an accomplished musician’s highly respected and massively enjoyable album that I was unaware of before cracking the spine on 1,000 Recordings.

Owned before blogging? No. (1 of 11. 9%)
Heard before blogging? No. (2 of 11. 18%)
Recommend?                 Yes. (7 of 11. 64%)

Next week:  Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic

6 Responses to “[11] King Sunny Ade – Best of the Classic Years”

  1. Mike June 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM #

    Avri, agree energetically with all but one minor point: to me those snake-like guitars are what propels this music. I’ve always been more of a guitar guy than a drums guy, so that may be the difference, but the point remains: this album dropped my jaw and caused me to go out and find the “Next Step” “Juju music.” Excellent intro to a new style.

  2. nycavri June 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM #

    I tend to be a “vocals first” guy, Mike, and here it is almost as if the drums have the lyrics. But whether you’re focusing on the drums or guitars, the package as a whole is exquisite.

  3. nycavri December 17, 2014 at 8:12 AM #

    Reblogged this on . . . To Hear Before I Blog and commented:

    Throughout December I am going to revisit the first months of this journey, taking time at the end of this year to remember where I’ve been and what I’ve heard.


  1. [13] Mahmoud Ahmed – Ere Mela Mela | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - July 5, 2013

    […] picturing the alien soundscapes and wailing vocals of Moorish Music, the syncopated complexity of King Sunny Ade. So it is an understatement to say that I am surprised when I press play on Ere Mela Mela and hear […]

  2. [21] Los Amigos Invisibles – Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - August 30, 2013

    […] King Sunny Ade is World Pop, this is World Dance. Not my favorite genre, but there is talent and thoughtful […]

  3. [120] Boukman Eksperyans – Kalfou Danjere | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - July 24, 2015

    […] is less high octane that the good Juju of King Sunny Ade, but no less pure Summer music, at home hanging in the air over a barbeque in the sun.  It is a […]

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