Africa – Music From “Lil Brown” (1968)
Title: Music From “Lil Brown”
These guys are awesome! Though there’s no more appropriate time for this album to be released than the late 60s, its sounds are scattered through time. Africa rose from the ashes of a doo-wop group called the Valiants, and that influence is very clear on most of the tracks, particularly the originals.
Their versions of “Paint It Black” and “Light My Fire” really make them their own. The former actually sounds like what you’d expect from a Brazillian psych act doing the same song. Funnily enough they don’t kick into a proper verse until nearly 6 minutes in, they’re too busy having a great time jamming along with congas and tribal sounds, followed by chanting the melody in Na Na Na’s.
The percussion throughout is largely hand-drumming, clacking drum-sticks together, and all other sorts of drumming you might hear at a campfire jam. “Light My Fire” is somewhat similar in style, except they make the vocals sound pretty much like Roy Orbison (for half of the song anyway).
J Dilla sampled that one on his Donuts album, which had my friend thinking the Doors song was actually just a 50s cover! Hearing the track itself reveals it to be more on the experimental and jammy side than anything from the 50s though, that I can think of at least.
The rest of the tracks have a feel to them that could be described as Sam Cooke meets garage (think the “Animal House” soundtrack) with a big dollop of doo-wop vocals. The production is actually quite fantastic as well, which is very fortunate considering it’s never had the re-issue treatment. (jaybird RYM)
- Paint It Black
- Light My Fire
- Here I Stand
- Louie, Louie / Ode To Billie Joe
- Savin’ All My Love
- You Take Advantage Of Me