Friday, 28 January 2011


There's an expression, which seems to have been particularly created for me, which goes: Your eyes are bigger than your belly. Which means, simply, you try to eat more than you actually can.

This also applies to me with regard to my acquisition of music and books. Not so much DVDs which I mostly manage to get through and don't have such a backlog. But lately I've been buying a few box sets. Now something like Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series volumes 1-3 (rare & unreleased) 1961-1991 (and, yes, that is the full title) clocks in at a relatively manageable 3 CDs and at £7.99 I couldn't resist it. There's also a box set of Bruce Springsteen's first 8 albums (which hardly counts as I'm familiar with them and a couple I'm acquiring for the second and third times) at £14.99. There's also the massive and massively expensive Sandy Denny 19-CD set which I've only got less than halfway through. And now what have I got my hands on? I'll show you.
That isn't a track list above. It's a list of the albums and the title of the box set (in case you can't make it out) is Fela: The Complete Works Of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. All 26 CDs of it, each one containing two original albums. Plus a DVD. At around £67.00 it isn't expensive when you consider that each CD costs less than £2.50 each. Of course the packaging is as cheap as possible. Each CD is in a simple card envelope with reproductions of the original covers one on either side. What the record label has done is combine the contents of what was 3 box sets plus their respective notes and bunged them into a plain box which, if not exactly flimsy, isn't the sturdiest ever.

I do have some Fela albums already, three from the box set plus a couple of Best Of's which duplicate some of the other material but I reckon about 75% of the material is completely new to me. So, a boxful of treasures as far as I'm concerned. Whether or not I'll ever get round to listening to it all (and reading all my books and watching all my DVDs) is another matter. But I intend to.

Here are a few of the original album covers.

And finally just the man himself -political activist, musician, epic consumer of weed and women-  the maker of some of the most important, most political, and most exciting music to come out of Africa and whose funeral was attended by over 1 million people -it took seven hours for the funeral cortege to travel 20km. If you want to know more, and you should, just google him.
The rest is glorious Afrobeat. Listen to it!

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