Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Ofo The Black Company
Allah Wakbarr


Released 1970 on London
Reviewed by The Beep Seal, 20/03/2002ce


Of all the Afro-beat/ Afro-funk compliations being released today, London-based Strut is putting out the most exciting of these comps. The most recent is a three-album set called Nigeria 70. This set happens to contain the amazing Nigerian proto-metal/hard rock track "Allah Wakbarr" by Ofo The Black Company. Not much is known about these guys except that they changed their name after this single and released an album under the name, Ofo the Rock Company ,that was never released outside of Africa. They released one single, "Allah Wakbarr" on the London label in 1970 and that is the only release that has made it out of their native Nigeria.
The track is three and a half minutes of intense, powerful late 60's/early 70's Detroit styled rock. I have no idea if these guys had access to American underground rock LP's from this era, but the fact that this came out at the same time as those albums, I am guessing this is a matter of simultaneous approaches to music just coming to a head at the same time. Serendipity, I suppose.
The song starts of with a quick buzzbomb of compressed Punch-from-God belch of righteous feedback followed with intense hand purcussion ala' Mtume. An angry chant of which I can only make out one word of, that word being "Africa", starts with a brittle ,distorted "Black to Comm" styled riff. The riff and hand percussion and chant goes on for a few bars and then the band kicks in. They kick in with the same power and feeling of the MC5's "Ramblin Rose". It doesn't let up from there either. lots of percussion breaks and some of the most distorted and manic guitar soloing this side of High Rise. Truly amazing rock.
Being fan of afro-beat, the Nigeria 70 comp is a welcome addition to my LP collection, but I can understand if it is a bit pricey if you are seeking it out for just one tune. However the only other way to get this tune is to seek out the original single, which, if you find it, will set you back a lot more than the price of the comp. Take Care.


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