Phases: 1972-1982

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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

Occupying the space between the pioneering Afro-beat of Fela Kuti and the equally revolutionary West Coast psychedelia of the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane, Blo created a singular body of work immune to the limitations of stylistic definition, yet completely rooted in their own time and place. The much-needed retrospective Phases 1972-1982 assembles 13 highlights from the trio's long-unavailable LPs, returning rock & roll full circle to its African roots and expanding the parameters of both in the process. Although the psych-funk of artists like Sly & the Family Stone, Shuggie Otis, and Parliament/Funkadelic serves as a point of reference, Blo sounds like no one else; despite an ill-advised turn toward disco late in their career, the group never sacrificed their Nigerian origins in the name of crossover aspirations. Their music was both ahead of its time and behind contemporary whims, absorbing and reconfiguring Western influences largely out of favor by the time they penetrated the African consciousness. While the mind-blowing opener "Preacher Man" suggests what the Grateful Dead might have sounded like had Jerry Garcia grown up on a diet of traditional African music instead of bluegrass, Phases also incorporates elements of everything from blues-rock to reggae.

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