Fela Kuti

The Best of the Black President

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The Best of the Black President Review

by Thom Jurek

The Best of the Black President is simply a stellar collection that bests any two-disc collection out there as it represents the continued evolution of Fela Kuti's music from the 1960s through the 1990s. Compiled by son Femi, many tracks are edits of the originals -- "Gentleman," "Water Get No Enemy," "O.D.O.O." -- whose power is not reduced. Still others are second-halfs -- like "ITT," "Coffin for Head of State," "No Agreement," "Army Arrangement," and "Shuffering and Schmiling." Still others, such as "Zombie," "Sorrow Tears and Blood," "Shakara" and "Roforofo Fight," are presented in their original form. The track lineup is stellar; the sound has been completely remastered from the Fela reissue series sponsored by Barclay in France. There are also two fine liner essays from Jacqueline Grandchamp-Thiam and Rikki Stein (his friend and manager for the past 15 years of his life). In addition to all of this is an excellent introduction to the genius and spirit of a giant. For those who have everything, this is a killer mix and needs to be in the collection anyway.

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