BRING THAT (AFRO)BEAT BACK!!

Pax Nicholas And The Nettey Family: Na Six Feet (Snippet)
From Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef (Daptone, 2009)

Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 band was THE band to be in if you lived in Africa in the 70s. Percussionist Pax Nicholas had been interested in music even as a young kid, from American soul music such as James Brown to the music he sang and performed in in his church choir. So when he lucked into a chance meeting with Fela Kuti, he turned the opportunity into a big break and scored a job as a conga player and background singer with Africa 70.

In addition to cutting material with Fela through most of the ’70s, he also cut an album on the side while in Nigeria. The material on Na Teef is classic Afrobeat. “Na Six Feet” has a funky organ at its forefront. Chants are prevalent throughout while Nicholas takes center stage on vocals. Like Fela, this is rebel music.

Most of the songs follow a similar pattern where the vocals don’t come in until halfway through the song (sometimes even 5 minutes in) allowing the music to simmer into a funky brew. The BPM meter remains pretty constant throughout keeping an even pace for an unvaried, yet still fresh listening experience.

Due to its limited pressing and Fela’s supposed blasting of Nicholas for recording on the side, the album has remained a reclusive treasure. Fortunately, Daptone has unearthed it for the rest of us to hear. Check your local record (and CD) racks for it this Tuesday, September 1.

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