Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Osibisa

  • Osibisa [Decca, 1971] B
  • Woyaya [Decca, 1972] B-
  • Heads [Decca, 1972] B-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Osibisa [Decca, 1971]
"Criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness," promises this London-based African and West Indian troupe, but they can't leave it at that, and neither singer-guitarist Wendell Richardson nor singer-saxophonist Teddy Osei explodes with very much of anything. Which leaves it all up to an ensemble that often sounds a little muddled--though I'll always stop and listen to the strange, sour unison horn line and unhappy lyric of "Phallus C." B

Woyaya [Decca, 1972]
I don't want to say they're hokey, but this is their second consecutive album to begin with jungle sounds, and I think we get the point. Actually, the problem is that they're not hokey enough, or not in the right way--plenty of quasi-virtuoso jams and brother-brother-brother, but nothing tricky enough to echo in your head once the drums have faded away. B-

Heads [Decca, 1972]
When it comes to lists of cities visited on tour, I'll take James Brown--he's got a better beat, maybe even a more African one. But if you happen to be in one of those cities on the appointed night, you should probably try to hear them--their records have never come up to their live notices. B-