Blo – 1973 – Chapter One

Blo is most known for being the first rock band to emerge from Africa. This trio includes Berkely ‘Ike’ Jones on guitar, Laolu ‘Akins’ Akintobi on drums and Mike ‘Gbenga’ Odumosu on bass. Each member has also worked in Ginger Baker’s band, Salt prior to their formation in 1972.

‘Chapter One’ is one of the most sought after African albums, despite the fact that it performed poorly upon release, which lead to the band switching labels to focus on a funkier sound. However, this album remains to be a rare piece of African psychedelic funk, which can reach up to $4000 for an original copy. Blo’s ‘Time To Face The Sun’ returned to the limelight when it was was sampled by legendary LA based hip hop producer Madlib on his hit ‘Face The Sun’.

Tracks
A1 Preacherman 4:41
A2 Time To Face The Sun 4:02
A3 Beware 3:04
A4 We Gonna Have A Party 1:02
A5 Don’t 3:23
B1 Chant To Mother Earth 6:12
B2 We Are Out Together 4:48
B3 Miss “Sagitt” (Instrumental) 4:46

Blo (based out of Lagos) grew out of the Clusters, a popular late 60s group who made ends meet by covering Beatles and Stones tunes.  Before long people began refering to the Clusters as the “Nigerian Beatles” but the group also soaked up the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, and local hero Fela Kuti.  To make a long story short things did not work out for the Clusters who included future Blo members Akintobi and guitarist/songwriter Berkley Jones.  In 1972 Blo made their Christmas debut at Lagos City Stadium and by all accounts blew supporting act Osibisa off stage.   Lagos City Stadium housed 10,000 vistors strong, all who were chanting “we want Blo” that day – a trio they had never seen before!

Press reports began describing Blo as Africa’s first real rock bandFollowing the explosive live performance at Lagos City EMI issued Chapter One in the summer of 73.  At the time nothing sounded quite like it.   The album is an extraordinary mixture of funky James Brown beats and spacey psychedelic guitar jams (check out the superb instrumental “Miss Sagitt”).    Album opener “Preacherman” combines both these styles into something really far out and classic.  The spiraling acid guitar solos and shuffling drum work really stand out on this cut. Brilliant.  Every song is worth listening to multiple times but I’ll single out all 6 minutes of “Don’t” for it’s hazy, hypnotic vibe that’s similiar to early Can.

Sadly, Blo never really broke out of Nigeria despite having the look, superior chops, and an excellent batch of songs.

Bonus

Blo ‎1974  Phase II

One of the most famous afro funk rock albums from Nigeria, Blo’s second offering ‘Phase II’.

A blend of funky rhythms, quality song writing and psychedelic guitars can be heard with consistency from start to end. No weak moments!

Download link Phase II

 

Buy the AlbumBlo – 1973 – Chapter One

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