7 Songs, 34 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With all the reissued Afrobeat albums surfacing in the 21st century, this one stands out in song quality, musicianship, production, and originality. Fusing Caribbean funk with an awesome blend of traditional Trinidadian soul, jazz, reggae, and steel drum band music, Black Truth Rhythm Band recorded Ifetayo in 1976 before disbanding. Frontman Oluko Imo would later sing for Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 band, and the heavily Afrocentric “Save D Musician” plays like it could have been his audition into Kuti’s world (save for some steel drums, which were at the time an anomaly of an instrument for this genre). The instantly groovy title track leads off with a mantra of wah-wah guitar, flute, keyboards, group vocals, and a rhythm section boasting a commanding strut—dig the squiggly-sounding analog keyboard solos. The moody follower “You People” boasts amazingly off-kilter guitar solos that play with a reckless abandon before pulling it all back together just in time for the next verse. The band’s uncanny chemistry hits its peak in the adventurous “Kilimanjaro,” a sweltering standout of feverish grooves.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With all the reissued Afrobeat albums surfacing in the 21st century, this one stands out in song quality, musicianship, production, and originality. Fusing Caribbean funk with an awesome blend of traditional Trinidadian soul, jazz, reggae, and steel drum band music, Black Truth Rhythm Band recorded Ifetayo in 1976 before disbanding. Frontman Oluko Imo would later sing for Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 band, and the heavily Afrocentric “Save D Musician” plays like it could have been his audition into Kuti’s world (save for some steel drums, which were at the time an anomaly of an instrument for this genre). The instantly groovy title track leads off with a mantra of wah-wah guitar, flute, keyboards, group vocals, and a rhythm section boasting a commanding strut—dig the squiggly-sounding analog keyboard solos. The moody follower “You People” boasts amazingly off-kilter guitar solos that play with a reckless abandon before pulling it all back together just in time for the next verse. The band’s uncanny chemistry hits its peak in the adventurous “Kilimanjaro,” a sweltering standout of feverish grooves.

TITLE TIME
5:48
4:29
4:57
4:12
3:47
8:05
3:02

About Black Truth Rhythm Band

Hailing from Trinidad, Black Truth Rhythm Band were a large ensemble fronted by vocalist Oluko Imo. What separated the group from other bands in the region was that rather than look to American popular music for inspiration, they drew directly from African sources like Afro-beat and other pop styles on the continent (the group's members even took African names). Deeply influenced by Fela, Sonny Okosun, and Ebo Taylor, BTRB created a hybrid sound that drew on the new African music as well as the regional vocal stylings of other Caribbean nations. Their singular and spacy meld of funk, jazz, soul, proto-reggae, steel band, and Afro-beat was evidenced on their lone album, Ifetayo, issued in 1976, and later reissued on both CD and LP by Soundway. After BTRB disbanded, Imo went on to sing with Fela's Egypt 80 band. ~ Thom Jurek

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