Afro Beat (Afro Funk & Afro Rock)

At the dawn of the 1970s, Fela Kuti studied the greats of soul and funk in the U.S., then headed back to Africa to form and lead the greatest of all Afro-Beat bands. As with James Brown, with whom he shared mutual admiration, Fela became the godfather of funky African pop and the benchmark by which all Afro-Beat must be judged.

By 1973, Candido Camero, Chico Hamilton, and other drum stars were beating the skins in answer to Manu DiBango's smash "Soul Makossa." (Slews of cover versions appeared until and after the banned original was released belatedly in the U.S.). It was Africa's time in jazz and pop, and drummers everywhere heard the call. "Soul Makossa" quickly became the quintessential Afro-Beat anthem, probably for all time.

The Chakachas' "Jungle Fever" and the Beginning of the End's "Funky Nassau" were giant mainstream hits with Afro-Beat at their core. Surprisingly, there weren't as many Latin-funk and calypso-funk crossovers with Afro-Beat as there could have been, perhaps because all three idioms were seemingly short-lived, struggling hybrids themselves. Afro-Beat was heard in a few soundtracks, particularly a few obscure one by Manu DiBango. In the later 1970s and 1980s, Afro-pop was eclipsed by reggae, but lately Afro-Beat has been revived.

Buying: Get that Fela. Many Afro-Beat records have been reissued for DJs, and in the case of most "Soul Makossa" covers, 7" singles usually are preferable and easier to come by than the LPs. Antibalas is a great, current NYC band in the Fela tradition.

Fela Kuti LPs

7Tony Allen: Jealousy; Soundworkshop WS-1004; 1975 (Blues Interaction/Strut ALP-001; 2000/1999)
9Tony Allen Plays with Africa 70: Progress; Phonogram/Coconut; 1976 (Blues Interaction/Strut ALP-002; 2000)
9Tony Allen Plays with Africa 70: No Accommodation for Lagos; Phonogram/Coconut; 1979/1978 (Blues Interaction/Strut ALP-002; 2000/1999)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70 with Ginger Baker Live!; Atlantic/Signpost SP-8401; 1971
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Open & Close; 1971 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-022-1; 1997)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Shakara; 1971 (Knitting Factory Records KFR2027; 2014)
9Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Fela's London Scene; EMI; 1972 (Knitting Factory Records KFR2004; 2014)
9Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Afrodisiac; EMI/Regal; 1972 (Knitting Factory Records KFR2008; 2014)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Gentleman Fela; 1973 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-023-1; 1997)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Alagbon Close/I No Get Eye for Back; Editions Makossa EM-2313; 1975
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Excuse-O; 1975
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Mr. Follow Follow; Phonogram/Coconut; 1975 (Celluloid CELL-6124; 1986)
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: J.J.D. (live at the Kalakuta Republik); 1977 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-025-1; 1997)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Expensive Shit/Water No Get Enemy; Editions Makossa EM-2315; 1975
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Everything Scatter; 1975 (Knitting Factory Records KFR2015; 2013; disc label: Coconut)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: He Miss Road; 1975 (Knitting Factory Records KFR2016; 2014/1975
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Monkey Banana; 1975
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Mr. Big Mouth; Aphrodisia (UK)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Mr. Follow Follow; Phonogram/Coconut; 1975 (Celluloid CELL-6124; 1986)
7Sandra Akanke Isidore Sings with Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Upside Down; 1976 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-024-1; 1997)
Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Na Poi; 1976 (Barclay France/Kalakuta; 1997)
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: J.J.D. (live at the Kalakuta Republik); 1977 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-025-1; 1997)
Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Sorrow Tears & Blood; 1976 (Barclay France/Kalakuta; 1997)
9Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Zombie; 1977 (Celluloid CEL-6116; 1986)
9Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Shuffering & Schmiling; 1978
Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: Authority Stealing; 1980 (Barclay France/Kalakuta; 1997)
7Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa 70: I.T.T. (International Thief Thief); 1980 (Barclay France/Kalakuta 547-027-1; 1997)
7Black President; 1982 (Capitol SN-16292; 1984)
7Original Sufferhead; 1982 (Capitol SN-16293; 1984)
7Live in Amsterdam; Capitol/EMI STB-12359 1984/1983 (2-LP, live)
7Army Arrangement; (Celluloid CELL-6115; 1985; other versions on other Celluloid LPs)
7Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense; Polygram/Mercury/Virgin/Barclay/Baya 833-525-1; 1986
8Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt '80: Beasts of No Nation; 1988
8Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt '80: Overtake Don Overtake Overtake; Kalauta K-009; 1989
8Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Roy Ayers: Music of Many Colours; Kalauta Sunrise/Knitting Factory Records KFR-1016; 2001
7Various: The Africans ST; Island/Antilles AN-7085; 1986 (BBC/PBS doc featuring Fela's "Chop & Quench," Sunny Ade, Toure Kunda..)
9Various: Afro Baby; Soundway SNDWLP002; 2004/1970-79 (2-LP compilation; 1 Fela cut: "Fogo Fogo")

Other Afro-Beat LPs

6Abeti; African Music Explosion AME-91.01; 1975 (vocal)
8Afrique: Soul Makossa; Mainstream/Red Lion 394; 1973 (w/Charles Kynard, Paul Humphrey, David T. Walker; 45s released also as "Chubokos")
8Akido; Mercury SRM-1-644; 1972 (Afro-Rock & drums)
7Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra; Afrosound AS-1010; 2000
8Antibalas: Talkatif; Ninja Tune Zen-66; 2002
8Assagai: Afro-Rock; EMI; 1971 (U.K.; Music for Pleasure SPR-90054)
9Assagai; Mercury/Vertigo VEL-1004
->Assagai -- see also Charles Hilton Brown
7Ginger Baker: Stratavarious; Atlantic/Atco SD-7013; 1972 (w/Fela Kuti & Guy Warren)
8Black Children Sledge Funk Group: Love is Fair; RTS RTLPS-001; 1976 (U.K. Afro-funk)
5Black Soul: Bingo Fiesta; Vogue LDY-28.075; 1976
6Ekambi Brillant: Africa Oumba; London 90.021; 1975
7Charles Hilton Brown [w/Assagai]: Owed to Myself; Ampex 30200-SD; 1974 (Schema SCEB 907; 2000)
Chaino -- see African
7The Daktaris: Soul Explosion; Desko DSLP003 (1990s)
9Malaku Daku: Love Drums from the Ghetto; Chaka Unlimited CU-20001 (Philadelphia percussion w/chants)
7Manu DiBango; Fiesta 365.008; 1971 (France)
8Manu DiBango: O Boso; Fiesta 360.039; 1972 (5 cuts reissued on Soul Makossa (Atlantic SD-7267) but not "Wild Man in the City" & "Ngosso")
9Manu DiBango: African Voodoo; PSI 3036; 1972 (production; France)
9Manu DiBango: Makossa Man; Fiesta [France]; 1973 (Atlantic SD-7276; 1974; in UK as London DL-3007 minus "Pepe Soup")
8Manu DiBango: Super Kumba; Fiesta 360.052; 1974
9Manu DiBango: Africadelic; Mondiophone 46.507/Mon 8; 1975 (production; jacket: "African Pop Group")
Manu DiBango: Ceddo ST; Fiesta; 1977
Manu DiBango: L'Herbe Sauvage ST; Fiesta; 1977
6Manu DiBango a L'Olympia; Fiesta 360099/100; 1977 (2-LP; live)
7Manu DiBango: Afrovision; Island ILPS-9526; 1978
7Manu DiBango: Gone Clear; Island/Mongo MLPS-9539; 1980 (Afro-Beat/reggae/caribeat; with Sly Dunbar)
9Manu DiBango: Makossa Man; Festival ALB-381; 1983/1973-5 (2-LP reissue of Makossa Man & Africadelic)
8Manu DiBango: Seventies; Soul Paris SP-8701/2; 1988/1970s (compilation; France)
7Frank Hatchett [Afro Drum Ensemble]: Ethnic Fever--Afro Cuban Jazz; Statler 1199 (circa 1973 Afro drumming directed by Marshall Small; NOT Latin jazz)
9Heads Funk Band: Hard World; PMG Audio PMG-013-LP; 2016/1975
6Incredible Bongo Band: The Return of; Atlantic/Pride PD-6010; 1974 (more Afro-Beat than the bongo rock of the first LP)
8The Invaders: Spacing Out; Badassss BA001 (modern Afro-Beat covers of soul/funk hits)
5Remi Kabaka/Abdul Lasisi Amao/Steve Winwood: Aiye-Keta; AntillesAN-7005; 1973
9Peter King: Shango; Strut ALP-006; 2002/1974 (2-LP)
[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Each Man Makes his Destiny; Kedzie (France); 1973
7Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: Soul Makossa; Musidisc (France); 1974 (a.k.a. Ice; in USA as Voodounon/Movin' & Groovin'; Editions Makossa EM-23.04; 1974 except minus "Soul Makossa" & "Right Foot")
Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: Malik; Musidisc (France); 1975 (Editions Makossa)
7[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Krispie & Company: Tonight at the Discotheque; Smile SMS-IM-303; 1975 (nearly identical to French original; various artists credited)
7[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Import/Export; Prestige P-10096; 1975 (funk/disco/Moog)
7[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Frisco Disco; Kedzie (France); 1976; (funk/disco/Moog; nearly identical to Import/Export)
[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Thumping; RCA (France); 1977
[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Seven Americans in Paris; RCA (France); 1977
[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Ice: Afro Agban; RCA (France); 1978
7[Lafayette Afro-Rock Band as] Crispy & Company: Funky Flavored; Creole CRLP-505 (UK); 1978 (Afro-Beat/Afro-Jazz/disco/funk)
8Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: Darkest Light--The Best of the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band; Strut LP-003; 1999 (2-LP compilation)
8Lafayette Afro-Rock Band: AFON--10 Unreleased Afro-Funk Recordings, 1972-74; Superclasse SUC-9904-DLP; 1999 (2-LP compilation; only "Little Sister" previously unreleased)
9Gerard Levecque & Claude Romat w/"Black Colored Drums": Africadelic's the Name--No. 1; Montparnasse 2000 MP-54 (French, production; "Africadelic in Brass"/"Africadelic in Jungle Drums")
9Gerard Levecque & Claude Romat w/"Black Colored Drums": Africadelic's the Name--No. 2; Montparnasse 2000 MP-57 (French, production; "Africadelic in Pop"/"Africadelic in Safari Mood"; different arrangements than MP-54 but same compositions)
7Lumumba; A&M SP-3610; 1974
7Hugh Masekekla & the Union of South Africa; Motown/Chisa CS-808; 1971
7[Babatunde] Olatunji: Soul Makossa; Paramount PAS-6061; 1973
9Various: Afro Baby; Soundway SNDWLP002; 2004/1970-79 (2-LP compilation)
9Various: Afro-Rock Vol. 1; Kona LP-001; 2001 (2-LP compilation)
8Various: Afrodeclic; KS KSLP-02; 2002 (2-LP compilation)
8Various: Booniay!!--A Compilation of West African Funk; Afrodisiac (2-LP compilation)
9Various: [no title]; Berry/Conroy Music Library BMLP-097; 1972 (production; Afro-Beat B-side by W. Farley; A-side by Power/Walter/Hawsworth/Graham)
Various (Lafayette Afro-Rock Band family): Tonight at the Discotheque; Kedzie (France); 1975 (in Mexico as Various: The Other Sound of Philadelphia; Peerless; 1975)

Partly Afro-Beat LPs

8Brute Force; Atlantic/Embryo SD-522; 1970 ("Ye-Le-Wa"--long, out)
8Chakachas: Jungle Fever; Polydor PD-5504 ("Jungle Fever")
7Fania All Stars: Latin-Soul-Rock; Fania SLP-470 (several reissues; w/Manu DiBango)
9Lynda Gache (Gaché): Jazz Technique from A to Z; Statler SLP-1237 ("Afro Beat"; disco/funk/Afro-Beat/conga/Moog)
6Mighty Tom Cats: Soul Makossa; Paul Winley LP-121 (Manu DiBango single plus filler)
6Osibisa: Superfly T.N.T. ST; Buddah BDS-5136-ST; 1973
8Johnny Pate/Four Tops: Shaft in Africa ST; ABC ABCX-793; 1973
4Superdudes: Superbad!; Pickwick SPC-3354 (covers; jacket: "Soul Makossa Played & Sung by the Ghana Soul Explosion!")
7Timmy Thomas: Touch to Touch; T.K./Glades 7513; 1977 (disco funk/Afro-disco "Africano")
8Nilo Toledo: Jazz in the Sun; Hoctor HLPS-4204 (funky rock/funk/disco/Afro-Beat "The Gold Coast"/jazz dance/Mexicali; covers of '70s hits)
7The Ventures: Only Hits; United Artists UA-LA147-G2; 1973 (2-LP; guitar/funk/Afro-Beat "Soul Makossa")
Various: The Africans TV ST; Antilles; 1986 (w/Fela's "Chop & Quench")
8Various: Racubah!; Comet LP-003 (2-LP compilation; Tony Allen, Mulatu Astatke, Roland Brival, Manu DiBango, Ice, Edja Kungali, Mamba Percussions, Mombasa, Harry Mosco, Ray Stephen Oche, Orch. Tembo, The Tempos)
7Various: Rare Funk Vol. 5--Afro Funk; Cobalt COBLP-1008
9Various: Trunk Presents the Super Sounds of Bosworth; Barked 1; 1996 (production)

[Partly] Afro-Beat 45s & EPs

8All Dyrections: Soul Makossa/On Top of It; Buddah BDA-362; 1973
8Antibalas con Jojo Quo: Uprising Parts 1 & 2; Afrosound AS-1009; 2000
9Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra featuring Mayra Vega: Che Che Cole; Daptone Dap-12001 (Afro-Beat/Afro-Latin; 4-cut 12" 33rpm mislabelled as 45rpm; Che Che Cole/Che Che Cole instrumental/Che Che Cole Makossa/Makossa #3)
9Charly Antolini: Charly's New Drums/Charly in Town; Gema/Cornet 3125 (German; picture sleeve)
8Athanase w/Manu DiBango: He! He! He!/Ngone-Moni; Sonafric SAF-1544 (France; picture sleeve)
8Bama & the Family: Feeling Good/Asiko: Drums of Asiko; Lenar 005
7George Benson: Erotic Moods; Paul Winley 131; 1978/1976-78 (full-length version of Afro-Beat classic "Love Potion-Cheeba-Cheeba" attributed elsewhere to Mighty Tom Cats)
7Black Blood: A.I.E. (A Mwana)/Marie-Therese; Mainstream/Red Lion MRL-5567; 1975 (from Black Blood LP)
8Black Blood: La Faranga/Kiswahili; Mainstream/Red Lion MRL-5580; 1976 (Latin/Afro-Beat)
9David Bryant: My Dashiki/The Underdog; Imperial 66406-S (Gene Page arranged)
9The Chakachas: Jungle Fever '75/Liza (& Brook); Polydor PD-15102 ("Jungle Fever '75")
7The Chubukos (Afrique): Witch Doctor Bump/House of Rising Funk; Mainstream/Red Lion MRL-5546; 1973 (A-side not on Soul Makossa LP)
9Manu DiBango: Soul Makossa (The Original Version)/Lily; Atlantic 54-3263; 1972 (licensed from France; with this stereo 45 & the French LPs you can skip the 1st US LP)
9Manu DiBango: Super Kumba/Wasa N' Dolo; Atlantic 54-3263; 1975 (licensed from France; better than the "Super Koumba" version)
9Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa '70: Roforofo Fight/Go Slow; Editions Makossa EM-2717; 1975 (probably LP versions abridged)
8Fela Ransome-Kuti & the Africa '70: Expensive Shit/Water No Get Enemy; Editions Makossa EM-2727; 1975 (LP versions abridged)
6Ice: Passion/Hard Times; The Great Northwest Music Company 710; 1976 (disco-funk; ex-Lafayette Afro-Rock Band; Seattle label)
8Mr. Jamo [Thomas]: Shake What You Brought With You Parts 1 & 2; Perception P-3 (SSS International SSS-79; w/electric sitar)
6Jungle Jim: Masai (Do the Masai Children)/instrumental; Renee RE-3002 (soul-funk dance)
6JOMO: Uhuru (African Twist)/Hangin' Out; Checker 1192 (Afro-mod-soul-rock; both sides Andre Williams)
8Shelton Kirby & Counterpoint: Zambezi/same; BeeGeeBGS-111; 1973
8The Simon Kenyatta Troupe: Soul Makossa/A Little Bit of Fiddle; Avco 12910; 1973 (picture sleeve; stereo)
9Kolahyah: Leo Parts 1 & 2; Rino K-001 (Love Childs)
7Mighty Tom Cats: Soul Makossa/Tom Cat Reggay; Paul Winley 1103
8Mighty Tom Cats: Love Potion-Cheeba-Cheeba/Finger In It; Paul Winley 1104; 1973 (shorter version of "Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba")
7Nairobi Afro Band: Soul Makossa/Jamaica Playboys: Makossa Reggae; Town Hall/One Stop TH-777
8Michael Olatunji: Soul Makossa Part 1/mono; Paramount PAA-0222; 1973 (shorter than LP version)
8The Stone Rock Groove Band: Dance Cheba-Cheba Girl (Cheba-Cheba Dance) Parts 1 & 2; Showtime ST-06425; 1972
7[K.C. &] The Sunshine Band: Black Water Gold Parts 1 & 2; T.K. Records TK-1026 (disco version)
7Vernon Steve Weakley: The Saga of Kunta Kinte/Is It Love or Is It Lust; V.S.W. Productions 100; 1977 (psyche funk/Afro-rock/black power/soul; from LP "The Saga of Kunta Kinte")
8Yoruba Singers: Basa Bongo/Black Pepper; Green Shrimp; 1975

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