Fela Kuti's Unearthed Debut Recording 'Fela's Special' From 1960

Hear Fela Kuti's first ever recorded track, the unearthed highlife style "Fela's Special" from 1960.


Before he became the indisputable king of afrobeat, Fela Kuti laid down a few recordings in the style of highlife for the UK-based label Melodisc. "Fela's Special," recorded in London in 1960, is one of Fela's first ever recorded tracks. Credited to Fela Ransome-Kuti and his band The Highlife Rakers, the unearthed track will appear alongside another long-lost Fela find ("Aigana") on Soundway Records' upcoming compilation Highlife On The Move: Selected Nigerian & Ghanaian Recordings from London & Lagos 1954-66. 

As Markus Coester notes in the sleevenotes for the compilation, “Even though [the recordings] had been discographically tracked and people interested in Fela’s musical life knew of them, they kept hiding for more than 50 years. Before I came across them, I was even in doubt whether they had been released at all. These are amazing first recordings, however.”

Highlife On The Move will be released as double CD & triple 180g gatefold vinyl (with a bonus 7 inch), it will be accompanied by a 44-page CD booklet and 12-page vinyl booklet with notes by Coester and rare photographs. The compilation is available for pre-order now and will be out March 16 on Soundway. Stream Fela and The Highlife Rakers' rare "Fela's Special" below via The Guardian.

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