Chapters And Phases - The Complete Albums 1973 - 1975 (CD)
Lagos-based trio BLO shook the Nigerian scene to its foundations with their their Afro-rooted rock music. Their live debut in December 1972 found 10,000 new converts chanting "we want BLO" over and over again. Their Afro-delia looked far afield for inspiration: drummer Laolu Akintobi said "we were listening to Grand Funk Railroad and The Isley Brothers and thought we should be able to do this in an African way." A further inspiration was Ginger Baker for whom both Akintobi and BLO's Berkley Jones played and toured with in 1971.
BLO's first two albums, 1973's Chapter One and 1975's Phase 2, are amazing fusions of traditional rhythms and American psychedelia that evoke a spacier 'Tago Mago'-era Can. Original copies of each sell for £200 and up. Chapter One's highlights include the psychedelic instrumental Miss Sagit with its snakey fuzz guitar. Equally far out is Chant To Mother Earth, where a hypnotic three-note bass line tops shuffling drums, choppy guitar and distant chanted vocals. Phase 2's wah wah guitar and funk takes their Afro-delia onto the dance floor.
Press reports of the time describe BLO as Africa's first rock band. They had an "electronic cosmic sound that deserves total world-wide attention". Didn't quite happen then but it is now as RPM's Laolu Akintobi-approved reissue of the complete Chapter One and Phase 2 albums - the first-ever CD issue of both albums - follows on the highly acclaimed Nigeria Rock and Funk Special compilations of recent times.
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