Raw and Uncooked

King Sunny Ade's early-Eighties "crossover" recordings still retain their power

Essentially recorded live to tape, the tracks on Classic Years testify how Sunny sounded raw and uncooked, free from the studio manipulation that shaped his Island Records releases. Back in 1982, marketing King Sunny Ade was all about winning converts to African pop music. Now with Western-leaning artists Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, and Baaba Maal at the forefront of West African music exports, Sunny's unreconstituted Nigerian juju is the perfect antidote to a genre that's come to be watered down and labeled as world music.

King Sunny Ade before the great pop experiment
JIM MCCARTHY
King Sunny Ade before the great pop experiment

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