Fela Kuti

The Best of the Black President, Vol. 2

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In the AMG review of 2009's The Best of the Black President, critic Richie Unterberger wrote: "A Fela Kuti best-of is especially daunting, when you consider trying to condense more than 70 albums into a mere two-CD set, and also needing to work with an artist whose tracks were usually in the neighborhood of ten minutes and more." Apparently, Knitting Factory thought so too, because it took over four years for a second volume to hit the streets. Like its predecessor, this set spans Fela's career, though the tracks are sequenced aesthetically rather than chronologically. There are a total of 12 cuts spread over two remastered discs. Highlights include the extended version of "Sorrow Tears and Blood," which closes disc one; 1971's "Black Man's Cry," which kicks off disc two; the furious second part of "Underground System," from his last album in 1992, and 1975's "Expensive Shit." In addition to the killer Afro-beat, critic Chris May's track-by-track analysis is indispensable. The booklet is also introduced by no less than Akon, who claims he's been listening to Fela's music all his life. [The Deluxe Edition also contains a DVD featuring a live performance from the Glastonbury Festival.]

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