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27 Aug 2016

Pazy and the Black Hippies “Wa Ho Wa” Nigeria, 1978 Afro beat,afro funk reggae

Pazy and the Black Hippies “Wa Ho Wa” Nigeria, 1978 Afro beat,afro funk reggae. 


While Reggae music had its prominence in 70s Nigeria, it was highlife and Fela Kuti’s afrobeat that gave the country its own musical national identity. Originally from Southern Nigeria’s Benin City, Edire “Pazy” Etinagbedia and his band The Black Hippies released their second LP, Wa Ho Ha on EMI Nigeria in 1978 building on a body of work that effectively glides between these styles creating an incredibly unique record that has become a cult classic. Wa Ho Ha features Pazy and his Black Hippies engaged in call and response vocal anthems all backed by incredibly deep rock steady grooves and afrobeat rhythms filled with funky horns and psychedelic guitar accents. Recorded in the legendary EMI Nigeria studios, Wa Ho Ha typifies the 70s Nigerian sound enthusiasts the world over have come to know and love, but puts an inimitable twist on it. 

This rare gem has been lovingly remastered and the original art work painstakingly restored. Used copies seldom appear on the market, and when they do, it’s usually in small private circles and you could put yourself through a semester or two of community college for what it costs to obtain a beat-up copy. Available on CD and vinyl, Secret Stash is proud to partner with Comb & Razor to present the first ever reissue of this funky rarity. As always, the LP version includes a free digital download of the entire album and the CD version comes in a premium digipak. … 

It’s there in the jubilantly self-referential shout of “Hippies!” that punctuates the driving tropical groove and stretched horns of Wa Ho Ha. Or in the half-crazed yipping that rolls through the wah-wah phased soundscape of “Papa’s Black Dog.” It’s a sense of ramshackle funk, of a boogie-down band barely holding together as it rampages across the dance floor, that sets Wa Ho Ha apart from so many of the reissues that come across the door of the Afropop office. 

Although the band is Nigerian (hailing from Benin City in the nation’s south), it stands apart from the larger Afrobeat crowd through its adherence to the sound of the reggae that was then streaming from Jamaica. While the ’80s would see no small supply of Nigerian bands whose music reflected Bob Marley’s continent-wide impact, Wa Ho Ha (which was released roughly a half-decade before this glut) is cut from a very different cloth. For one, the record lacks any hint of the synthesized slickness of so much African reggae. Instead, the band grooves with an almost psychedelic intensity, resulting in a sound that is danceable, but remains peculiarly (and pleasingly) skewed. Songs are a frequently a mess of rolling echo and studio effects, sounding as if a garage-rock band, with all the trebly distortion and hoarse-voiced half-sing that implies, was let loose to ply their art amid the ghosts and gadgets of Lee Scratch Perry’s Black Ark studio. 

It’s strange to say, but in many ways the best thing about Wa Ho Wa may be the ways in which its music fails to live up to its Jamaican inspiration. While the band readily adopts the languid horns and guitar upstrokes that would seem to mark the influence of reggae, the genre’s underlying feel eludes it. Unable to shrug the rhythmic and tonal inheritance of their musical background, the group never quite manages to get it right. As a result, the album is left as strange hybrid. The beat–which in Jamaican reggae is a rock-solid touchstone, delayed, dragged, rushed, and messed with, but always maintained–floats in a way that utterly refuses to settle. Augmented by a hyperactive rhythm section, the songs overflow reggae’s laid-back swagger, pulling in a host of funk (and Afrobeat) influences to arrive at a space of caffeinated exuberance, a bedrock rush that courses through the entirety of the album. Any number of wonderful details accumulate around this core– Pazy’s wildcat vocals, the rockabilly-abandon-meets-Fela logic of the lead guitar, the wonderfully flat harmonies and horns–but the album’s central pleasure remains this energy. It’s what sets it apart, transforming what might be heard merely as a fascinating curio into a full-on album, the kind that you listen to over and over. Not because it’s cool, or rare, but because you genuinely want to hear it. It’s just that contagious. Hippies!……. 

Bass Guitar – Makos 
Drums – Colins Osokpor 
Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar – Pazy Etina 
Organ – Jack Stone 
Rhythm Guitar – James Etina 
Tenor Saxophone – Fuzzy 
Trumpet – Richard 

01. Johojah Comfort Me 4:44 
02. My Home 3:50 
03. Come Back Again 4:25 
04. Elizabeth 2:49 
05. Wa Ho Ha 5:00 
06. Papa’s Black Dog 3:12 
07. Lahila 5:56

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..