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Osibisa - Black Magic Night: Live at the Royal Festival Hall  CD (album) cover

BLACK MAGIC NIGHT: LIVE AT THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL

Osibisa

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Strangely enough, Osibisa waited for some nine studio before releasing their first live album. Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in the summer of 77, this was a bit of a surprise for everyone since they played sets concentrating on tracks from their early albums (this is good news for progheads, since those are the albums that are of interest for us) and a few from their first two albums for Bronze Records. By this time, Osibisa were definitely more commercial than in their heydays , having scored a huge hit with Sunshine Day, but the track selection of this live album leaves little doubt where their preference lied. This is where you realize how the recording industry and artist integrity do not really coincide often, to say the least.

Most of the tracks from the first two albums are faithfully reproduced with the odd concert arrangements (such as the sing-along Woyaya being dragged on a bit) except on one notable shortcut: they skip most of Beautiful Seven once the intro was done to soar in Y Sharp. Fire (from their fifth album Happy Children) shows how funky these Africans could become and is quite a fine jr/f tune. There is also an then-unreleased track on this live album Loving Feeling , which gives you an idea where Osibisa stould in terms od sound in 77.

The good thing about this double live album is that it can make an excellent intro to Osibisa for the proghead. The first two albums are the majority and the rest of the tracks are a fair selection of the fifth, sixth and seventh albums - this represents four tracks, including the hit Sunshine days which has a disco beat, but nothing shameful. A very worthy introduction.

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Posted Friday, April 14, 2006 | Review Permalink

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