Alpha Blondy – Elohim (1999)

FrontCover1.jpgAlpha Blondy (born Seydou Koné; 1 January 1953 in Dimbokro, Ivory Coast) is a reggae singer and international recording artist. Many of his songs are politically and socially motivated, and are mainly sung in his native language of Dioula, French and in English, though he occasionally uses other languages, for example, Arabic or Hebrew.

Elohim is his 1999 reggae album.

Six years old when it finally reached America, Elohim isn’t the great lost Alpha Blondy album as much as it is an exciting collection of tunes with a crummy cover and so-so production. The original Elohim cover displayed Blondy as a righteous, cross-carrying warrior, but ignore the post-concert, shoved-in-the-corner singer here and you’re in for an excellent — sometimes chilling — set of conscious lyrics with breezy music. Breezy to a fault, actually, since Blondy’s Solar System band seems flattened by the thin production most of the time. Compare the version of “Black Samourai” on the live Paris Bercy album to the one included here for proof, or consider how the wicked lyric “We take no prisoners/And we eat the wounded” sits on mannered, sterile beats. The tougher Merci from 2002 displayed that Blondy would grow as an executive producer, but Elohim is filled with prime Blondy songs, ones good enough to forgive the musical stiffness. “The Devil’s Tail” is up there with his best, “Take No Prisoner” is tougher than tough, and “Black Samourai” became the man’s anthem. To Shanachie’s credit, Elohim is 80 percent in French and the label does an excellent job of translating the lyrics for the booklet. Elohim is hardly the first reggae album to be brought down a peg by cheap, sterile production, but it makes you pine harder than usual for what could have been. (by David Jeffries)

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Personnel:
Wayne Armond (guitar)
Alpha Blondy (vocals)
Jacques Bolognesi (trombone)
Christopher Burch (keyboards)
Alain Hatot (saxophone)
Christophe Hebert Assistant
Clive “Azul” Hunt (bass)
Samuel Kone (drums)
Guy N’Sangue (bass)
Mao Otayeck (guitar)
Rohan Romain (programming)
Guy Sangue (bass)
Philipp Slominski (trumpet)
Abou Watt (percussion)
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background vocals:
Sarr Julia – Julia Fenere Sarr – Marylou Seba – Lydie “Oliza” Zamata

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Tracklist:
01. Black Samouri (Blondy) 4.39
02. Haridjinan (Blondy) 4.25
03. Les Voleurs de la République (Blondy) 4.22
04. Dictature (Blondy) 4.18
05. La Queue du Diable (Blondy) 4.52
06. Journalistes en danger (Démocrature) (Blondy) 4.13
07. When I Need You (Blondy) 3.48
08. Djeneba (Blondy) 4.37
09. Sabotage (Dekker) 4.01
10. Take No Prisoner (Cannibalistic) (Blondy) 4.43
11. Lune de miel (Honeymoon) (Blondy) 3.55
12. Waïkiki Rock (Blondy) 4.35
13. Petini Go Gaou (Blondy) 5.05
14. Mônin (Blondy) 4.13

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