Fela Kuti

Stalemate

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Despite a massive attack by 1,000 armed Nigerian army men on his Kalakuta Republic compound on February 18, 1977, Fela Kuti, accompanied by his Africa '70, resumed his prolific musical output -- which yielded in excess of half-a-dozen long-players a year since 1975. While the exact recording date is not documented, it could easily be surmised that Stalemate -- like Opposite People -- was recorded prior to the incident. Another correlation between the two releases is that the subject matter is more social than political in content. In keeping with tradition, the album Stalemate consist of two extended pieces -- one per side. The title track has a mid-tempo trance groove that bends and yields to Kuti's call and response with Africa '70. After a lengthy instrumental introduction -- thoroughly establishing the buoyant rhythm -- Kuti begins his half-spoken/half-sung observations. His subject matter, as is often the case, deals with relationships between people and using logic to avoid conflict. One valuable lesson that can be derived from "Stalemate" is keeping one's opinions to one's self until all facts have been presented -- thus, avoiding a stalemate. The B-side track contains an equally funk-driven piece, whose subject matter is steeped in native African tradition. The moral struggle between convention and invention collide on "Don't Worry About My Mouth O..." Kuti's rap explains the heritage and preference in the African "chewing stick" versus the toothbrush/toothpaste combination so popular in most of the world. The rear cover even includes photos of Kuti using the said "chewing stick." He also makes a few clever analogies between the healthy mouth and the things that come out of it. [In 2000, Stalemate was reissued on CD coupled with another 1977 release, Fear Not for Man -- which contains the rare instrumental "Palm Wine Sound."]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 12:54 Amazon
2 15:44 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick