"Juju Music" was Island Records head Chris Blackwell's attempt to make KSA into the new Bob Marley after the reggae superstar's death in 1981. Hired Martin Messonier, the Phil Spector of worldbeat, to produce, and bankrolled KSA's first tour of the US. Messionier was actually a good choice to produce: seemed comfortable with KSA's big line-up of three electric guitarists, four singers, four African drummers, a trap drummer, a bass player, and a pedal steel player. The resulting disk is a highly accessible classic: layers of guitar, vocals, and percussion, with intermittent interjections of what might be called "space pedal steel" [you read that right]. KSA and Messonier added a few synths in post-production. This disk nicely documents KSA's sound circa. 1980.
Because of its denseness, the music can just wash over the listener, or, alternatively, its polyrhythmic complexity rewards repeated "hard" listening. (Personally, for headache relief I prefer lying down on a bed and listening to this disk to Tylenol.) The Yoruba lyrics run the gamut from the spiritual to the bawdy. (Sorry, no singing in "Nigerian" or paeans to "Ja," though.)
The follow-up disk "Synchro System" has a similar sound; subsequent incarnations of the band added keyboards; Demala Adepoju was replaced by a less accomplished pedal steel player; and in general the sound became more percussive as KSA's sound evolved toward "fuji" and other, "harder," styles. KSA still tours the US on occasion and if you see him now, you will probably be treated to a tougher sound (as well as some remarkable dancers)!