Best of the Classic Years

Best of the Classic Years

by King Sunny AdeKing Sunny Ade




The casual worldbeat fan might assume that King Sunny Ade's "classic years" were his '80s tenure with Island Records, when the Nigerian juju ambassador was being groomed to succeed Bob Marley as a Third World musical messiah. If so, they'll likely never take so much pleasure in being wrong. This is King Sunny from the vaults -- 1967 to 1974 -- and it's cause for rejoicing. However well intentioned was Chris Blackwell's anointing of the guitar wizard, King Sunny's famous '80s albums, including the landmark Synchro System, were at best a Western approximation of the rippling Afro-psychedelia that was all the rage in Lagos during the '70s. These tracks are the real, uncut stuff, compiled from the local African Sounds label, and represent the music as it was meant to be heard. Case in point: the glorious, luxurious 19-minute "Synchro System," which sprawls through changes in rhythm, tempo, and guitar texture and bears little resemblance to the truncated track that would make King Sunny a name in the West. Not that fans will be confused -- the trademark juju panoply of talking drums, traps, shakers, cowbells, bass, and seemingly dozens of guitars is already in place, making a spongy bottom for King Sunny's feathery vocalizations. The pedal steel guitars that gave the King's '80s hits their spectral resonance are less evident, hinted at with a preponderance of echo-heavy slide guitar. Contemporaneous with the militant shuffle of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, Sunny's juju is a lithesome cousin, floating on a head of syncopated steam that would burn all night long. Its ghostly, slo-mo funk intrigues and insinuates once more on this welcome historical gem.

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Product Details

Release Date: 02/11/2003
Label: Shanachie
UPC: 0016351663429
catalogNumber: 66034


  1. Sunny Ti De Medley: Sunny Ti De
  2. Sunny Ti De Medley: Bombibele Horojo
  3. Sunny Ti De Medley: Oro Towo Baseti
  4. Sunny Ti De Medley: Ko Salapata
  5. Sunny Ti De Medley: African Beats Lu Nsere
  6. Synchro System
  7. Ibanuje Mon Iwon
  8. Afai Bowon
  9. Ogun Party, Pt. 1
  10. Adena Ike

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