The Black Hippies – 1977 – The Black Hippies
Blazing solos, upbeat drums and sweet organs will guide you on this Nigerian funk odyssey.
This underappreciated 1977 record by the Black Hippies can make its much-deserved way into your living room. A long lost gem from the treasury of West-African 70s funk, that will help you relive those special oil-industry expat times.
The Black Hippies were a Nigerian rock band from Warri, Bendel State, Nigeria in the mid-1970s led by songwriter Joseph Etinagbedia, a.k.a. Pazy. In their earliest incarnations, the band played a distinct style of harder rock, one that bore many of the trademarks of Nigerian music; from a visceral vocal style to the psychedelic funk that touches every corner of the songs.
Their debut self-titled album was recorded in ’76 by producer Odion Iruoje and features five of the band’s tunes from their earliest days, finding funky pre-disco rhythms playfully co-existing with light-headed fuzz guitar in Pazy’s celebratory, somewhat psychedelic tunes. The band would shift gears with subsequent releases, going more in the direction of reggae than hard rock, but their debut represents the band at an inspired beginning point where their take on hard rock/funk was something truly unique.
A1 Doing It In The Street 5:10
A2 I Have The Love On You 5:40
A3 Love 4:05
B1 The World Is Great 9:05
B2 You Are My Witness 8:35
“Pazy” (Joseph Etinagbedia) started playing music in the Fire Flies in the city of Warri in Nigeria in 1973. The area was in the midst of an oil boom, and like most bands on that scene, the Fire Flies played American and European pop hits mixed with Jazz and Highlife for the largely expat audiences in local clubs. Along with an influx of foreigners, the oil boom also gave rise to an emerging Nigerian youth market, and soon Pazy formed the Black Hippies to play the uniquely African style of hard rock that was favored by this new audience.
They quickly found success and were appearing alongside other Warri-based artists such as Tony Grey. In short time, they came to the attention of EMI and their legendary producer Odion Iruoje, who recorded this album.
By the time it was released in 1977, though, Disco and Funk were starting to take over and the hard fuzzy rock of The Black Hippies first album was somewhat behind the times. As a result, the album was barely released and is now virtually unfindable, unseen by all but a few of the most hardcore collectors. Pazy would go on to form a new line up of the Black Hippies that played mostly Reggae but this remains by far the best album.
Featuring whiplash funk drumming, searing fuzz guitar, raw vocals and that uniquely West African organ sound, The Black Hippies first album is a definitive classic of the genre.
it’s an album that oozes quality. From the opening bars of Doing It in the Street, right through to the closing notes of You Are My Witness, you’re hooked. Seamlessly, The Black Hippies fuse musical genres and influences. This includes everything from Afro-beat, fuzzy rock, jazz, psychedelia, reggae, soul and voodoo funk.