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Download as PDF Printable version. Blackground Virgin. US Billboard Hot . Jennings and his peers were traditionalists who bucked the very notion of tradition. All of them had been manhandled by the industry, but few bristled against the mainstream quite as strongly as Jennings, who found himself on a series of poorly planned tours that left him deep in debt to his label and addicted to amphetamines. But the version recorded for his massive crossover album Africa Brasil exudes joy, sparks flying from every exuberant note.
Perry essentially released a dub version of the Romeo and Jazzbo tracks, then followed it with a dub of the dub. By then, the jazz saxophonist was already well established, but the record was a huge flop.
Historically, makossa, the popular Cameroonian dance music, is a mix of soukous, highlife, and traditional Douala dance rhythms. He assumed it would be like the rest of the samba records he was collecting, but its cover gave a hint of something subversive: the image of a barbed wire fence scrawled across a white surface. E Um Ah! Her delivery evokes a woman possessed as she roars and vamps through her seduction. Davis keeps switching gears until a new darkness emerges from her throat, and a storm rises from the guitar.
Her pointillist funk thrust loses its precision and starts stumbling in the perilous ascent towards climax. Elements of the song have been repeatedly sampled and replayed, but its bittersweet harmonies are best experienced the way DJs played it back in the spring of and for many years to come: from its first effusive note to its very end. The track has been re-recorded a number of times, most famously by the Clash on their debut album.
However, the original, recorded in the legendary Black Ark studio, is a textbook Lee Perry production. Instead, he and cowriter Alain Winsniak introduced an unprecedented strain of dystopian disco dread.
As the track grows more sinister, mutant monsters take their revenge until humanity reverts to a primitive state where it must once again earn its place.
The future new wave icon Lene Lovich wrote these uncredited ecological lyrics. Together, on opposite sides of the country—Kashif in New York, Sylvers in Los Angeles—the two charted a path post-disco, incorporating new electronic elements and playing with grooves. When Thelma Houston recorded the song for Motown a year later, her arrangement reached for the sky; the version accelerates steadily, a gentle melancholy lifting off into the denser and more pressurized atmosphere of disco.
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