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Demon Fuzz

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Demon Fuzz Afreaka! album cover
4.21 | 68 ratings | 9 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
Past Present And Future (9:50)
Disillusioned Man (4:58)
Another Country (8:28)

Side B
Hymn To Mother Earth (8:10)
Mercy (Variation No. 1) (9:20)

CD Reissued

Past, Present And Future
Another Country
Hymn To Mother Earth
Mercy (Variation No. 1)

with Bonus Tracks:
I Put A Spell On You
Message To Mankind
Fuzz Oriental Blues

Line-up / Musicians

Sleepy Jack Joseph / Bass
Ayinde Folarin / Congas
Paddy Corea / Congas, Flute, Saxophone
Steven John / Drums
W. Raphael Joseph / Guitar
Ray Rhoden / Organ, Piano
Clarance Brooms Crosdale/ Trombone
Smokey Adams / Vocals

Releases information


Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
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DEMON FUZZ Afreaka! ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

DEMON FUZZ Afreaka! reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars A bit like Osibisa and Assagai, the band is an aggregate of African black players forming in London's Swinging Sixties an amalgam of musicians that could play under three names: Skatallites (thus exploiting the Jamaican group), The Interstate Road Show or Sarah Gordon's House Of Bondage (for the seedier clubs of London) before getting signed by manager Barry Murray and landing on Dawn label, along with Comus and Mungo Jerry, both under Murray's protection. Blessed with a very strange mask artwork, DF's sole album at least had an excellent name, although borrowed from jazz circles.

Right form the first notes of the opening lengthy instrumental Past Present And Future, you just know you're on different trip than usual, with the huge bass and guitar duo scaling up and down the drama Spanish with Flamenco/Corrida chords, before taking off in an unexpected brass rock joyful explosion, lasting the next 8 minutes (out of almost 10). Very different in the following Disillusioned that has a much more BS&T flavour without having its heavy cheesiness or one of Chicago's many good moments on the first three albums. During a lengthy harmonica solo, the group seems caught in a vinyl skip (as if the needle was stuck), the group seems stuck in a repetitive 7/4 time sigs that haunts you for minutes after its gone. Another lengthy track takes another brass rock road, not far from What If would be doing, but suddenly the mood shifts to an Arabian seedy night club with the sax leading the way, slowly developing its Coltranian wings (not visible/audible at first)

The flipside (let me dream I have the 33RPM) starts on the flute, bass and organ gliding thru space, before chants and other disrupts them and start in the plaintive Hymn To Mother Earth proper. The track soon develops one of the most haunting organ sustain line around, while the tension keeps climbing Awesome. The album closer, the almost 10-mins Mercy(variation N1) starts with an almost African voodoo beat and soon again haunts the corner of your mind especially when the brass section solo simultaneously going in different directions and the percussions and drums drive you mentally insane into following their wild rhythms over a wild sax. What a frigging exit to this album.

Stuck on as bonus tracks are the just as-rare maxi-single (this furiously recalls Comus and its "album and maxi-single" thing, and guess what??? The bonus maxi-single tracks bring as much added value to the original album as it did with Comus. Starting up is yet another great cover of SJ Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You (I don't think I've ever heard a cover of this track I didn't love), which was at the base of a payola scandal. The Message To Mankind return to a If or BS&T style of brass-rock, a fine tune, but seemingly a tad hastened midway through (uncaught glitch or normal twist?? >> go figure, it seems repeated later). The flipside of the maxi-single holds the lengthy Fuzz Oriental Blues, which a great instrumental wher the Hammond lays king for eternity!!!

Apparently the group also embarked a UK tour called The Penny Concerts with Comus, Titus Groan and Heron (es-ISB) >> How I wished I'd seen that!! In either case, Demon Fuzz's sole album is probably of on the label Dawn best artistic success (with the undisputable Comus topping that list) and the Cd reissue with its bonus tracks should absolutely discovered by all progheads.

Review by Matthew T
4 stars Released in 1970 by Pye and most likely would not have been if the Producer ( Barry Murray) prevoius album had not been Mungo Jerry's, self titled album. In The Summertime was the single which went to No1 in the UK. The record label presuming they were on to something hot let him do this one and quickly came to realise this was not apparent as the album made no impact and disappeared.

The band comprised seven members and are joined by Ayinde Foalrin from Nigeria providing assistance with African percussion used throughout which is one of the reasons this album has a style of its own. Jam Band would be the term we would use to describe the music today but with Funk, Psyche, Rock, Jazz, Ska and a bit of Prog used it is one groover of a record which these days is bringing large amounts on the collectors market as it is in hot demand from DJs.

Past Present and Future is instrumental all the way and lays one nice groove down and is one great listen which runs for just under ten minutes. The next track Disillusioned we get to hear Smokey lay his vocals down (Selwyn Adams) who just does not seem to grab me but the music is good enough to carry the song along and still is quite a good listen with a great soprano sax solo.Personally for me this band should have had a more driving vocalist or gone instrumental all the way. Tenor Sax is used on every other track with great funky Bass lines,good drumming.great Guitar ( preference for Wah Wah Pedal mainly ),Sax and Trombone solos all over an organ groove predominately and you have it. Mercy Variation No 1 another instrumental closes the album with a great drumming,Wah Wah Guitar and that Tenor Sax almost sounding like a train and we are off on a great groove.

The actual album only comprised 5 tracks and a suitable single could not be found so they did a cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins tune I Put a Spell on you which is quite okay.. Fuzz Oriental Blues. which is another of the three bonus tracks was the flip..

The musicians are quite good and occasionally one hears the odd influence but what I hear with the sax player is Fela Kuti particulary with his intros with that few notes..break ..again and on. That sound Fela had, more of a riff than a solo.

I am going for 4 stars simply because of the grooves which are damn good when they get going and that African percussion which give the album a great feel to it.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars A big thankyou to Guldbamsen who recommended this album to me. He said it's similar to OSIBISA but that it smokes anything they did. Bold words but they proved to be true. Like OSIBISA this band was made up of a group of young blacks who had immigrated to London. After WWII the British government was encouraging young men from the Commenwealth to come to England to work as the work-force was obviously depleted after the war. This was a seven piece band with the usual Rock instruments plus trombone, sax, organ, congas and flute. There was an additional player added for this record who also played congas. According to Paddy Corea the sax / flute player (who by the way had been playing in London clubs since the early sixties) the turning point for the band came in 1968 when the visited Morocco and heard those North African rhythms which they of course implimented into their music. Paddy described their music as "a combination of Arabic and Indian music together with soft Avant Garde Jazz". After a series of well received club shows at venues such as Ronnie Scotts and more they ended up getting signed by the Red Bus Agency the same agency who had also signed COMUS. We get five long tracks and two are instrumentals.

"Past Present And Future" opens with this distorted guitar that sounds nasty. Love it ! Cymbals help out then we get drums before 1 1/2 minutes as the song settles in. Horns follow then the guitar returns but not distorted this time.The organ replaces the guitar then the horns return 4 1/2 minutes in. The guitar is back after 6 minutes trading off with the horns. A great opening instrumental. "Disillusioned Man" opens with percussion and strummed guitar but the drums, horns and organ kick in quickly. Vocals before a minute for the first time. Love the drumming and vocals on this one. Horns, organ and drums lead as we get an instrumental section that comes in before 2 1/2 minutes. Vocals are back 4 1/2 minutes in to end it.

"Another Country" is drum, horn and vocal led. This is catchy and so well played. It does settle back before 2 1/2 minutes with relaxed horns and a beat. Nice. Organ 6 minutes in as it kicks back in. Vocals are back before 8 minutes. "Hymn To Mother Earth" reminds me of TRAFFIC a little bit. Floating organ and bass to start. Drums and vocals at 1 1/2 minutes with flute as the floating organ continues.The bass returns as the tempo picks up and horns follow. A change before 5 minutes as it gets kind of funky with horns. Vocals and that earlier soundscape return around 6 1/2 minutes. "Mercy (Variation No. One)" is the closing instrumental. This is catchy with drums,percussion, organ and more. The horns become prominant as they continue to jam.

This band didn't get much support from their label unfortunately and this became their one and only release. I think every track on here is incredible and nothing but five stars will do. Afreaka !

Review by Guldbamsen
5 stars ZING!

Finding Afreaka! on PA a little while back had me scratching my head. Ever since I picked this wonderful record up in high school I thought it part of the groovin' saucy psychedelic soul scene booming from the lands of Motown. It was first when I dug a little deeper - dove beneath the overt funky bass lines and oh so soulful singing, that I hit the experimental bits. The part of this album that feels influenced by the whimsical quirkiness of the Canterbury scene - the part that goes whoof and s'got bells on it - dingalingaling!

These guys all immigrated to London during the musical epiphany of the 60s, and while you'll certainly pick up on some infinitely swinging, warm and psychedelic Hammond-organ-hippie-vibes during most of this record, it still comes across unlike most of what got produced around that time - especially in London! This is Funkadelic and a Mel Collins inspired reed quartet. Sly & The Family Stone hooking up with Osibisa and a funky inclined Don Cherry. The Junglebook meets Malcom X on a particularly inspired sidewalk in Piccadilly Circus...

The beat is low down boogie - grab your missus' backside. The bass is wavy, sultry and vivacious like a big pair of bouncy brown boobs. Together these two critters pounce their way through this release like a black panther on the prowl - sneaky, elegant and wild when it needs to be. Complimenting this incredible rhythm section is a cornucopia of fiery vocals that take their cue from the aforementioned motor city of Detroit - acts such as The Four Tops, The Temptations and The Jackson 5 all spring to mind when you hear the harmonies of Demon Fuzz unfold. What then gives this music it's zing and punch is the crooked reeds, the angular turnovers and the quirky fusion breaks that once in a while come to the fore and rearrange this boogying funky soul train.

Released in 1970 Afreaka! obviously cashes in on the experimental surge that sweeped through popular music. It wasn't only with the likes of King Crimson and Pink Floyd you faced the counter cultures emerging up through the airwaves, but also with the black music community that at this time took artistic chances and revolutionised the more funky parts of the radio. Soul had suddenly become psychedelic and wobbly - jazz equally so while at the same time experimenting with freeform and rocking templates. Especially the jazzy invasion into popular music - the odd time sigs and musical freedom, is felt on this record. Call it melodic avantguarde, crooked soul, bouncy doo-wop or progressive blaxpoitation - hell I don't give a flying feck, but whatever you do, please take a chance with it - let it fill your living room with a rhythmic sensuousness and a funky beat that'll have your missus shaking dat ass, imitating bad hip hop videos and rolling up doobies like a young Jane Fonda in a leather catsuit with slender nimble fingers and a wild jungle stare. Man oh man how I love this thing!

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars DEMON FUZZ may have only put out a sole album during their brief existence from 1968-72 but this nine member band that stylistically stumped the critics managed to crank out some mean tunes on the aptly titled AFREAKA! This band was a collection of immigrants who arrived from British Commonwealth countries and landed in 1960s London. Originally a soul band, a trip to Morocco inspired the band to spice up their sound with more ethnic influences as well as funk, rock, jazz and music from the homelands in mother Africa. The result was one of 1970's most psychedelic and freaked out jazz rock albums that took a few cues from the world of progressive rock which was unusual for a group of nine Africans who found themselves on British soil.

The story began with brothers Winston Joseph and Sleepy Jack Joseph arriving in London in the early 60s. Winton took up the guitar and Sleepy the bass. Paddy Corea would also arrive in London around 1963 and took up both the flute and saxophone and by chance all found each other through good old fashioned newspaper ads. The members kept a-coming with organist Ray Rhoden joining next and then came Clarence Brooms Cradle on trombone. The band began as Blue Rivers and the Maroons where they cranked out a mean raw sort of soul that incorporated a gritty ska sound and a more energetic delivery than the average soul band and as time went on they just kept piling on new styles until they blossomed in the bad ass named DEMON FUZZ.

Trombonist Crosdale claims the band's name has two meanings. It can mean either "Devil's children" or "Bad Policemen," and much like this dichotomy of the moniker so too does the music take you into a contrasting sonic field of unlikely fusion candidates for the year 1970. At its root base, DEMON FUZZ never jettisoned the soul of their origins but rather just made it weirder. Keeping with the times that the late 60s London had to offer, the band added an intense dosage of psychedelic organ sounds that firmly connected them to what was going on in the psych and prog underground. AFREAKA! channels the soul with strong African rhythms with traditional congas and European drums belting out strong percussive drives throughout the album's run. The extra touches of a horn section added a whole new dimension of progressive jazz-rock fusion to the recipe and with touches of ska and reggae syncopated beats meant this band stood out even amongst the other funky freaks out there.

Despite the Afro-Latin funk busyness laced with lysergic soul, AFREAKA! is a hypnotic beast with sultry sax and trombones sounding like a Dixieland jazz troupe lost in a psychedelic nightclub that happens to be hosting a Kenyan drum ensemble. While mostly instrumental with lengthy jamming extravaganzas carrying certain tunes such as "Mercy (Variation No.1)" close to the ten minute mark, the vocals of Smokey Adams do find their way into the mix especially on the shorter tracks like "Disillusioned Man" which tames down the instrumental bombast and slinks back to the more soulful days of yore with a slick soul jazz vocal style that keeps the funk and organs in full swing but after the vocals cease, the lions are back out to play and jam on in full funk and soul regalia. The rest of the album however has been said to resemble the combo effect of Fela Kuti, Cymande and Parliament!

As a band of exclusively black musicians in the 1970 UK, the members were clearly aware of the subtle racism even during the height of the love and peace movement that professed to have erased such things. Paddy Corea has recounted the differences between whites and blacks in the music business of the day when blacks were paid half as much yet worked twice as long and for the most part were not taken seriously. These prejudices were the primary factor in the band pursuing a more serious and complex musical style which was intended to change attitudes towards black music in England. This did attract the attention of DJ John Peel whose efforts led to this album becoming reality but despite all the efforts in making DEMON FUZZ stand out in the burgeoning packs of talented musicians, the disagreements of how AFREAKA! turned out led to disagreements and a breakup in 1972.

For all the band's brevity, AFREAKA! has become a cult classic as well as one of the most sampled albums for DJs and hip hop artists and has even received some airplay in select circles. This album was released at the same time as the non-album single "I Put A Spell On You," the 1956 Screamin' Jay Hawkins hit made more famous by Nina Simone. The single was released as a maxi-single with two other non-album tracks "Message To Mankind" and "Fuzz Oriental Blues," all three of which are included on any modern re-issues of AFREAKA! and well worth having since they are all great tracks that keep the funkified Afro-jazz rock juju flowing in full freakery. It's really too bad DEMON FUZZ didn't develop into a longer lasting band since this is an excellent slice of early 70s African led music that transcended any easy categorization. Was it rock? Yep. Funk, yeah that too. Jazz, uh-huh. But also psychedelic, Afro-Latin and dripping with sweet soul!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Really good debut. Demon Fuzz presents what they wanted to be in a concise 5 track album. The opening track is an instrumental, the next three are built around singing and the last is also an instrumental. Track one is just kind of mediocre, compared to the following tracks it's not as amazing ... (read more)

Report this review (#2569002) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Saturday, June 5, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars DEMON FUZZ were a psychedelic Jazz-Funk collective with a heart full of Soul! The seven members of Demon Fuzz all emigrated to Britain from Commonwealth countries in the early 1960's. THe name of the band and the title of their first album "Afreaka!" (1970) gives some indication of the funky, ps ... (read more)

Report this review (#2338844) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Demon Fuzz - a blaxploitation prog?! ;-) Demon Fuzz is something really different than most albums on this site. It is a mix of soul, blues, rock, funk, jazz and African music with a little bit of "prog sauce". As something completely different maybe it deserves even 5 stars! On the other hand ... (read more)

Report this review (#266063) | Posted by cataclysta | Sunday, February 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is what we call an album of pure fusion, a direct fusion between ethnic groups, this group would probably english mention originines music black and white music. Here the Rock merges directly with the Jazz, Rock and A already merged with progressive and Heavy, a Jazz already merged with Afro ... (read more)

Report this review (#234906) | Posted by Discographia | Monday, August 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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