This Weekly Music Thread Is a LONG One

Let’s discuss any and all music here. Got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here.

This week’s discussion prompt comes courtesy of The Avocado’s very own KingKat:

What are your favorite “album side length tracks”?

Not going to be too strict about what constitutes an “album side”. Generally speaking, to take up the entire side of an album a song would have to be at least fifteen minutes long, though in some cases an artist might have been able to fit another song or two on there and in other cases might have chosen to have a slightly shorter song take up an entire side of an LP for aesthetic reasons or to ensure good sound quality. And starting in the CD era, this sort of sequencing didn’t matter anyway. Basically, if you think a song is long enough to qualify for the prompt, then go for it!

In addition to being the pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti may well be the king of the album side length track, with the bulk of his recordings taking up a full album side (and in some cases, even both sides of a single album). For example, “Na Poi” is 25 minutes long and on its original vinyl release was divided into two parts over two sides, with an additional seven minute track (“You No Go Die…Unless You Want Die”) rounding out the album.

“Na Poi” was my introduction to the music of Fela Kuti. I found a Japanese twofer CD in the rack of 500 yen CDs at Book Off, which consisted of the albums Na Poi and Zombie (the more common Fela Originals reissue series pairs the Na Poi album with Yellow Fever, and gives the iconic Zombie its own dedicated disc with bonus tracks). Having read about Fela Kuti but never having heard his music (in the post-Napster/pre-YouTube days) I wasn’t sure what to expect, and for the first three minutes I wasn’t sure if I had made a wise purchase or not as it starts off kind of slow. However, as soon as the band started playing I knew that I had discovered yet another lifelong musical obsession.

For the uninitiated, you can’t go wrong with any of Fela Kuti’s seventies work – if you like what you hear, then you’re probably going to want to hear a LOT more. But in keeping the spirit of the prompt I’ll go with Roforofo Fight, as it’s not only considered one of his best it’s also a double album consisting of FOUR album side length tracks! This video also contains a detailed history by Afrobeat historian Chris May of each song and the context in which they were written and recorded.

And to learn even more about the man and his music, check out the 1982 documentary Music Is the Weapon (here’s hoping it’s not region-blocked for anyone, though there seem to be several other uploads that might work for you if this one doesn’t):

As always, any and all music-related posts are welcome. Have fun, and rock out with yr guac out!