Recorded in 1969 under duress courtesy of the Department of Immigration and Naturalization, the Los Angeles Sessions
are among the earliest glimpse of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's developing Afrobeat sound. What makes this release different from much of his recorded work is the length and number of songs: ten tracks, average length 4:39. Unusual, since most Fela material is 15 minutes or more. The foundation of this music is still the classic highlife sound, but there are influences here that bespeak Fela's absorption with funk and soul. In fact, the opening track, "My Lady Frustration," sounds so much like James Brown
, you'd swear it was Jimmy Nolen
playing guitar and Clyde Stubblefield
on the drums. A good intro for Fela neophytes, but by no means the only Fela recording you should own. Also, tracks like "Nigeria" show how important radical politics were in informing his sound.