King Sunny Ade

Classics, Vol. 5: Surprise and Conscience

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A pairing of two King Sunny Ade albums that makes for an odd juxtaposition, since Surprise dates from 1992 while Conscience hails from almost a decade earlier, 1983. The problem is that those dates aren't in the liner notes -- only research will tell you. Musically, Conscience is "classic" era Ade, when he was first enjoying global success with Island Records, and the music has an openness of the times, with the pedal steel guitar looping in and out, the percussion talking loudly, and Ade's own guitar work cutting through everything. Surprise, on the other hand, isn't so open, revolving around drums, voice, and keyboard, with guitar used sparingly. To be fair, it's not from Ade's most fertile period (before his resurrection as an elder statesman of world music in the '90s). As part of a reissue series of albums, with two discs on a single CD, it's great value, but you have to wonder at the logic behind the pairings.

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