Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah (RIP 1983) -- vocals, percussion
- Rabbit Bundrick -- keyboards
- Roger Cawkwell -- sax
- Rosko Gee -- bass, rhythm guitar
- Lyle Harper -- bass
- Roger Hawkins -- drums
- Gorodn Hunte -- lead guitar
- Conrad Isadore -- drums
- Junior Kerr --- guitar
- George Lee -- sax
- Chris Mercer -- sax
- Eddie Quansah -- trombone, trumpet
- Jean Alain Rousse -- keyboards
- Peter Vanderpoje -- flute, sax
- Kenny Wheeler -- trumpet
- Steve Winwood -- bass, guitar, keyboards
- Chris Wood -- flute
- Afro Cult Foundation
- Can (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah)
- Traffic (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Konongo, Ghana
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 2325
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Konongo, Ghana
Grade (cover/record): NM/NM
Comments: sealed copy
Catalog ID: 144
The sticker on the cover off the album says it all - "You saw him playing with Traffic on tour!"
Chances are if you've ever heard of the late Ghanaian percussionist Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah, it's a result of his association with Traffic's 1970s line-up. Having originally toured Sweden as a member of Jimmy Cliff's band, Baah apparently took a liking to the country and was living there in 1971 when he crossed paths with Traffic when they toured the country. The following year Steve Winwood invited him to join the band. As a member of the group Baah appeared on their final four albums
Not meant to question Baah's talent, but the Traffic relationship clearly played a role in scoring a recording contract with Island Records (coincidently Traffic's label). Co-produced by Baah and Island president Chris Blackwell, 1972's "Reebop" featured a collection of seven Baah originals. With backing from a mixture of Swedish and English musicians, including Stevie Winwood and most members of Traffic, the Traffic connection certainly helped explain why tracks like 'If You Want To Go' and 'Problems' offered up Traffic-styled jazz-rock moves. Elsewhere the percussion 'Meda Mena', 'Kye Kye Klue', and the second half of 'Silly Boy' shifted the emphasis to Baah's African roots. Because it offered up the best mix of the competing styles, 'Silly Boy' may have been the stand out performance.
Far from a necessity, but as the sticker indicated, might have some appeal to hardcore Traffic fans.
"Reebop" track listing:
1.) If You Want To Go (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah) - 6:28 rating: **** stars
Kicked along by Junior Kerr's wah-wah guitar, 'If You Want To Go' was the album's more conventional rocker. The song's jazz-rock flavor, coupled with Baah's limited voice actually underscored the Traffic comparison. Still, the tune had a nice, driving melody and was one of the album highlights.
2.) Zagapam (instrumental) (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah) - 5:04 rating: ** stars
With support from the "Back To the Canteen"-era Traffic line-up and a horn ensemble, the instrumental 'Zagapam' came off as a competent, but ultimately, dull slice of jazz-rock fusion. Imagine something off a BS&T, Chase, or early Chicago album. The song's highlight came at the very end in the form of Swedish guitarist Gordon Hume's slashing lead guitar work.
3.) Meda Mena (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah- 3:43 rating: *** stars
'Meda Mena' shifted the focus to an African sound and to Baah's considerable talents as a percussionist. Mildly interesting, but by the end of the tune you were ready to move on.
4.) Problems (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah - 7:40 rating: *** stars
'Problems' marked a return to a Traffic-styled jazz-rock fusion. Nice enough tune and the horns didn't even bother me (Eddie Quansah tuned in a trumpet solo that would have made Hugh Masekala proud) , though clocking in at almost eight minutes, it was a bit on the long side. This was kind of interesting for bringing out Baah's heavily accented vocals. Not sure why, but he almost sounded German to my ears.
With a catchy and propulsive melody and rhythm, 'Silly Boy' was probably the album's best mash-up of rock and African influences. Yeah, it went on way too long, but the first half of the track generated quite a bit of energy. Who knows why, but Island actually tapped a heavily abbreviated version of the song as a US single:
- 1972's 'Silly Boy' b/w 'Kye Kye Baah' (Islalnd cataog number 1207)
2.) Softly Weeping (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah) - 7:25 rating: *** stars
My goodness did this one ever sound like a "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys"-era Traffic tune. In fact Baah's bleating vocals even sounded a bit like Stevie Winwood (who happened to play bass, keyboards, and guitar on the track).
3.) Kye Kye Klue (Anthony "Reebop" Kwaku Baah) - 3:26 rating: **** stars
King Sunny Ade anyone ? Actually one of the album's cooler tunes.
During a January, 1983 concert Baah suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. He was only 38 at the time of his death.
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