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World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?

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Editors’ Notes

The title here is no joke. This slice of West African grooves from the late ‘70s to the early '80s is indeed psychedelia. But discovering the origin of the mysterious William Onyeabor is an honest plea from the Luaka Bop label, which got licensing from the Nigerian artist. But these days he’s a born-again Christian and won’t talk about himself or his music. What we’re left with is a nine-song compilation that must speak for itself. Tracks like “Love Is Blind” and “Let’s Fall in Love” sound like an alien fusion of African grooves with Kraftwerk’s mechanized beats and rudimentary synth tones. More seamless-sounding is “Something You Never Forget,” with call-and-response vocals and percolating live drums. On “Why Go to War,” things get more political. “Atomic Bomb” is more ambiguous; it nonetheless stands out as the collection's groove tour de force. Every once a while, an obscure vintage African funk album or collection captures our imagination; this one will be remembered as the one that did in 2013.

Customer Reviews

The Bigfoot of goofy musicians

I became obsessed with William Onyeabor in the mid '80s, while serving in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. IMHO, his magnum opus is "When the Going is Smooth and Good." I have it only on a dusty cassette made from a scratchy LP. Luaka Bop, can you dig this up and put it on iTunes? Only then can I die happy.

Why are these kinda songs still play able?

I mean the title is grey but i can still preview it?..

Love first song, can't wait for more!

Great smooth energy.


Born: Lagos, Nigeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '10s

William Onyeabor is an iconic figure in the history of Nigerian pop music. He is considered the father of Nigerian electro Afro-funk. His biography has been shrouded in mystery due to his own refusal to discuss it or his music since becoming a born-again Christian in the middle...
Full Bio
World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?, William Onyeabor
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Customer Ratings