Stalemate (1977) / Fear Not For Man (1977)
Stalemate (1977) / Fear Not For Man (1977)

Stalemate (1977) / Fear Not For Man (1977)


Fela Kuti & Africa 70


Knitting Factory Records

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Recorded before the 1977 attack on Kalakuta Republic, “Stalemate” addresses the battle between the Nigerian masses and the state. On the second track, “Don’t Worry About My Mouth-O (African Message),” Fela weighs African personal hygiene and sartorial customs - chewing sticks not toothpaste, water not toilet tissue, traditional clothing not suits and ties - against Western practices. In an African context, Fela finds the imports wanting. “Don’t worry about my dressing-o,” he sings. “We dey wear different different dress, for Africa before Bible show… I dey talk of history, wey we never see before, wey we for dey read for our school wey me I don read, we no know anything-o, look buba (African dress), look sokoto (African trousers), na same as shirt and trouser, na fashion change am.” Originally released by Decca Afrodisia.

Fear Not For Man
“Fear Not For Man” sounds like a work in progress interrupted by the February 1977 attack, to which Fela’s two vocal choruses may or may not have been added after the event. After citing Kwame Nkrumah’s motto “the secret of life is to have no fear,” Fela continues: “I be man, I be man, I am a man, I am a man, run run run, I na go run, goat dey run, yes, na man dey stand, yes” (I am a man, I don’t run away, goats run away, men stand and fight). It is a heavy lyric, but Fela could have been moved to write it anytime since the1974 attacks on Kalakuta, not necessarily after February 18 1977. The brevity of the lyric and the sound of the vocal suggest that Fela had intended to come back later and record an extended lyric, before being overtaken by events. Originally released by Decca Afrodisia.

01 Stalemate
Fela Kuti & Africa 70