When the Going is Smooth and Good – an unplayed surf soundtrack…
William Onyeabor is an elusive Nigerian artist who self-released eight much-bootlegged albums of pioneering electro-funk music between 1978-85, before leaving music behind for good.
A longer version from the liner notes of the Nigeria 70 album…
William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio. He recorded a number of hit songs in Nigeria during the 70s, the biggest of which was “Atomic Bomb” in 1978. “Better Change Your Mind” is taken from the same album, and, as well as slating the power-crazed nations of the world, the second half settles into a unique slice of stripped down spacey, lo-fi funk which is unlike any other Nigerian music being made at the time. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill.
Another story goes that the artist became a Born-Again Christian and turned his back on this part of his past, never to mention it again.
Regardless, this is the stuff for a long road trip, or just a quick dash through the traffic to remind you of the beautifully fluid, intricate electronic songs he composed, spilling with a ridiculously fun sense of sway and strut.
In October, as a part of their World Psychedelic Classics series, Luaka Bop (David Byrne’s outfit) will be releasing a 14-track album of Onyeabor’s work, Who is William Onyeabor? a very exciting prospect indeed.
You can get a free download of the great ‘Good Name’ here.