“Had he still been alive, 15 October would have been Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s 75th birthday. The Afrobeat originator died in 1997, but his legacy lives on. Kuti’s complete catalogue of almost 50 albums has been released online and on CD by Knitting Factory Records, and the label has also started releasing vinyl. Two box sets, each including six LPs, have so far been issued. The first was curated by Questlove, the second by Kuti’s old friend and occasional drummer, Ginger Baker. Brian Eno, who produced Kuti’s son Seun’s magnificent From Africa With Fury: Rise in 2011, has begun work on curating a third box. KFR also plans to release single LPs.
The last time Kuti’s complete catalogue was released on vinyl was in 1999 by the French label Barclay, with Talkin’ Loud the UK licensee. Until KFR’s vinyl programme has been completed, which may take a year or two, many of Kuti’s best LPs, particularly with his Africa 70 (and Afrika 70) band in the 1970s, are rare treasures. However, in addition to the Barclay/Talkin’ Loud LPs, earlier reissues can sometimes still be found on various African, European, American and Japanese labels.
Here are ten of the finest and the rarest…”