As per a request from Robel in the Netherlands, here’s Fela’s Underground System whose title track starts off with rhythms that are far faster and more urgent than those on most of Fela’s characteristically lengthy tracks. If that sounds like a marginal quality upon which to judge a song as a standout, well, something like a much faster and played-as-though-we-mean-it tempo really does help to differentiate it from the singer’s generally similar output of the 1970s and 80s. The backup singers also come in quickly with infectious chants, prior to a typical Fela lyric observing the difficulty in enacting positive political change in Africa. Hearing them sing in tandem with Fela instead of doing call-response patterns, as they do during much of the 28-minute cut, also makes for a refreshing variation. “Pansa Pansa,” at a mere (for Fela) 17 minutes, also gets your attention more than his average effort, with rapid propulsive beats and sprinkles of slightly dissonant jazzy piano. This 2001 reissue adds an extended version of “Confusion Break Bones” from his 1990 album, O.D.O.O.
Follow the links below for a healthy serving of Fela’s discography. Archive #1 features 18 albums of his work. Archive #2 features many others in addition to a wealth of other quality albums (Fela links are working, not all others are though). Essential research.