Fela Kuti

Live in Amsterdam

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Licensed from Capitol and reissued on CD by Universal's Wrasse imprint, Live In Amsterdam still ranks among Fela Kuti's worst records. Even with remastered sound it's dodgy, flat, and echo-y. The audience sounds have been dubbed in and one has to wonder what Dennis "Blackbeard" Bovell was thinking when he mixed this. Three long tracks are spread over one CD, though the same listing was spread over two LPs in the past, and even the performance is lackluster, though it has moments of brilliance--particularly in the saxophone solos and chanted choruses. The question here becomes, however, if Wrasse could cross-license this inferior set from Capitol, why on earth haven't they come up with a CD version of one of his best LPs for that label, Black President? There is an anthology with that name, but the album is sadly absent from the voluminous catalogue Fela enjoys on compact disc. It makes one scratch her head. Live In Amsterdam is to be avoided by all but the most hardcore collectors.

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