September 21, 2011

Joni Haastrup | Wake Up Your Mind

ARTIST:  Joni Haastrup
TITLE:  Wake Up Your Mind
LABEL:  Tummy Touch / Soundway
REVIEW:  Joni Haastrup was Nigeria’s soul brother number one in the 60’s and 70’s, a major superstar in the optimistic early years of independence. Where Fela was arguably Nigeria’s James Brown, Haastrup was more like Nigeria’s Stevie Wonder -- a supernaturally talented singer, songwriter and musician (he simultaneously replaced both Stevie Winwood and Denny Laine in Ginger Baker’s Air Force) with a Buddhist zen and a one-world political philosophy.  Haastrup came up playing highlife with the bands of Victor Olaiya and Orlando Julius; when rock and soul started to overtake highlife he founded the pioneering Afro-rock band MonoMono and disbanded it in 1978 to make this, his one and only solo album.  It’s one of the most collectible African records of the 70’s, made even more famous by track 2, which is a highlight of several African crate-digging anthologies.  So a reissue is certainly in order, and certainly worthy as well -- there are six tracks here and all six of them are top-shelf African soul, funk and rock.  Haastrup was looking for an international crossover hit here, and the world would have been a better place if it had happened then.  It’s not too late.
TOP TRACKS:    1    2    3    6

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