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.