Fela Kuti

Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense

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With production help from Wally Badarou, Fela Anikulapo Kuti offers up an interesting mix of songs (well, two to be exact) in both vocal and instrumental versions. Most compelling is the track "Look and Laugh," which details the attack by Nigerian soldiers on his Kalakuta compound. With simple lyrics, Fela runs down the horror of that attack in a detached, almost journalistic manner: "Till dem come/burn my house/burn my house/all my property/burn burn dem/beat beat me/kill my mama." Badarou's production help gives Fela his most full-bodied sound; the horn section is much hotter and brassier than ever before. The problem with this record is that with following an instrumental track with a vocal version of the same song, there's a certain lack of drama that blunts the impact of songs as powerful as "Look and Laugh." That said, this is very good mid-'80s Fela. The 2001 reissue on MCA adds a 22-minute bonus track, "Just Like That," which was originally released on 1989's Beast of No Nation album.

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