Black Truth Rhythm Band ‘Ifetayo’ (Soundway) 4/5

This is an interesting one-off group recording by a group that released just one album that has remained an underground hit and typifies the enterprising approach of Soundway in general. The Black Truth Rhythm Band actually come from the Caribbean and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, but in style are firmly grounded in 1970s Afro-funk tinged with soul and even calypso. Leader of the band and mulit-instrumentalist Oluko Imo went on to play in Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 Band and recorded with its leader in 1988. However, for this 1976 re-issue which saw the light of day in the States at the time, the band opt for a pared down sound with funk rhythms in the use of guitar, assorted African percussion (kalimba, conga) and flute instead of brass. This results in a fresh sounding music that hints at multiple influences. On the minor themed ‘You people’ the vocal harmonies could be Philly soul with lead vocals in English whereas on the most immediate number with an Afro-Beat lite percussive undercurrent ‘Save D musician’ is an uplfting dancefloor winner. Most accessible to fans of old school US funk is the title track with a repetitive guitar-led rhythm, collective chants and the lovely use of flute and subtle keyboards. A suitable Afro-Centric album cover with band members in traditional attire conveys the musical message of the group. The current re-issue continues in the series of African-inspired albums that Soundway have focused their attention on and is well up to the consistently high standard of previous releases. Tim Stenhouse

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