Fela Kuti - Gentleman (50th Anniversary Igbo Smoke Colour Vinyl)**
**Final vinyl colour may vary to image
1973’s Gentleman is the last of Fela’s early 1970s transitional albums - it was followed by 1974’s Alagbon Close, on which he brought all Afrobeat’s signature ingredients together.
On its title track, 1973’s Gentleman presents one of Fela’s most perfect lyrics, sung in call-and-response with the backing vocalists. “I no be gentleman at all,” Fela sings, and there’s plenty more.
As so often with Fela’s songs, “Gentleman” can be interpreted literally or as a metaphor concerning a wider issue. In this case, Fela’s topic is the colonialism-induced inferiority complex which led many in Africa’s new governing elites to reject African style, concepts of beauty and modes of behaviour in favour of European imports.