Recorded in London (by `Django' Johnny Punter) and produced (not brilliantly, it has to be said) by Tony Visconti, their debut remains truest to their African and Caribbean roots. Whilst it's been freshened up a bit with digital remastering, it's still a bit soft in the bass (which, apparently, was never an area of particular priority in the Visconti sound book ~ check out the sleeve notes of the reissue of T. Rex's Electric Warrior to see why).
In this original incarnation, Osibisa was a sonically rich and culturally diverse seven piece band, the conventional foundation of guitar, bass, keyboards (including the magic Hammond B3 ~ yo!) and drums augmented (not entirely unpredictably) to great effect by lots of percussion with fruity tenor sax and trumpet. Sounds good, doesn't it? The flying elephants cover pic courtesy of Roger Dean tops off the package a treat, perfectly of its time and thus timeless. After this, they never really got back to where it all started, due in no small measure to founder Teddy Osei's ongoing battle against the record company executives pressurising him to commercialise their sound and ditch what he'd always wanted the band to be about. Parts of Osibirock (yeah, yucky title) came close and its recording quality was much better, but this one remains the definitive Osibisa album. And, funnily enough, I never heard another band stalking this particular musical territory with anything like the authority of Osibisa. Oh well, a piece of history. Akwaaba, which opens, S.2 remains one of my all time fave tracks ~ it really flies.
By comparison, Woyaya just didn't cut the mustard but, as you get it here for free, that doesn't really matter.