Published Jan 11, 2011If only because it's so bloody massive, legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti's back catalogue can be hard to get into. There are literally dozens upon dozens of funk-laced platters you can choose from. If you wanted a quick primer, you could check out the upcoming live broadcast of the biographical Broadway musical Fela! If you wanted something a little more thorough, though, you should check out the new six-album box set being put together by Roots drummer Questlove.
A press release for the project proclaims that this will be the first in a series of curated box sets covering Kuti's massive musical output. Released by Knitting Factory Records, the set features "painstakingly recreated original album artwork along with vintage vinyl label artwork." The albums that Questlove selected, some of which being pressed on vinyl in North America for the very first time, are: Everything Scatter (1975), Expensive Shit (1975), Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1986), Beasts of No Nation (1989), Fear Not for Man (1977) and Sorrow Tears and Blood (1977). The whole package will be released February 1.
Considering the percussive-minded Questlove's attachment to funky beats, here's what he had to say about the reissues: "It's the story of hip-hop. It's the story of taking nothing and turning it into something."
While Knitting Factory is planning on putting out heaps more Kuti reissues, the label is also in the midst of packaging CD box sets. Though having already released 34 of the Afrobeat master's albums on compact disc, the company is shows no signs of slowing down with Power Show, a seven-disc set that covers ten Kuti masterpieces.
Power Show focuses on late-era albums, running from 1979's Coffin for Head of State up to Fela's last album, 1992's Underground System. See below for a full list of albums available via the CD box set. You can buy this extensive piece of Afrobeat history on January 18.
Albums in the Power Show set include:
Coffin For Head Of State (1979) / Unknown Soldier (1980)
Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1986)
Original Suffer Head (1981) / I.T.T. (1980)
Live In Amsterdam (1984)
Army Arrangement (1984)
Beasts Of No Nation (1989) / O.D.O.O. (1990)
Underground System (1992)