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Darkest Light - The Best of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band

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Album Review

The name may not be familiar, but the Lafayette Afro Rock Band's grooves certainly are. A veritable sampler's paradise, snippets of their hip-hugger-tight funk have served as the bedrock of innumerable rap records, most notably Public Enemy's "Show 'Em Whatcha Got." Darkest Light assembles 15 tracks from the group's mid-'70s heyday, revealing a deep, versatile unit truly justified in adopting such an international name — their music indeed embraces both Afrobeat and Western psychedelia in equal measure, complete with hard-edged guitar riffs, incendiary sax breaks, and blistering rhythms. Although the title track inspired Public Enemy, "Hihache" also features a much-sampled drum intro and the relentless "Conga" later resurfaced on a volume of the Ultimate Breaks & Beats series. But to break this music down to its base elements is to do the greater whole a grave disservice — Darkest Light merits discussion alongside any of the great documents of classic funk. [This 2009 reissue of the CD shuffles the order of the tracks and replaces the songs "Gap" and "Red Matchbox" with "There's Time to Change" and "Time Will Tell."]


Formed: 1970 in Long Island, NY

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s

Though little known in their native U.S., the Paris-based Lafayette Afro Rock Band was among the premier funk outfits of the 1970s, later becoming a seemingly endless source of samples and breaks for artists from Public Enemy to Janet Jackson. The group was formed on Long Island, New York as the Bobby Boyd Congress; deciding America was already overloaded with funk acts, they relocated to France in 1971, but when frontman Boyd returned stateside, the remaining members — guitarist Larry Jones,...
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Darkest Light - The Best of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band, Lafayette Afro-Rock Band
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