Published Aug 18, 2009You're all familiar with this track, I trust. "Family Affair" was one of the few radio-ready tunes from Sly and The Family Stone's extreme-downer masterpiece There's A Riot Going On. You could call this version "Thank You For Talkin' Me To Africa," to borrow another song title from Sly's album.
Antibalas need little introduction at this point; early to market with their brand of Afrobeat in the late 90s, they've progressed from politicized party-starters to an increasingly stark and hard hitting sound which culminated in their most recent effort, 2007's Security.
Producer Doctor L remains best known outside of France for his landmark work on Tony Allen's Black Voices, which turns ten years old in 2009. Black Voices remains one of the great Afrobeat albums of all time, and is available these days by download only. Its combination of Allen's jazzy funk and Doctor L's dubwise electronics with a dash of P-Funk vocal agility set a new standard for hybridized African music for North American and European ears.
This collaboration is a one-off, but Antibalas settle firmly into the mid-tempo uncertainty of the song, while converting Sly's slurred vocals into pidgin English. It was recorded in 2006, quickly pressed onto a limited edition 7", then vanished. Doctor L gave it a buff n' polish for the late summer vibes of 2009, and has offered it up for free on Paris DJs.
Listen to "Family Affair" by Antibalas & Doctor L here.