Written By: Sam Marshall
FLASHBACK: 70s rarity is a real show of music transcending genres.
Originality: (5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (5 / 5) Lyrics: (4 / 5) Production: (4 / 5) Average: (4.5 / 5)
In 1978 Orlando Julius released the groundbreaking afrobeat/funk album Love Peace and Happiness. The album was a true show of historic genre-breaking.
With this kind of music it is very easy to forget that it started somewhere. For the modern listener the fusion or cross cultural idea is almost normal; it’s crazy to imagine music not being like it. But contextually, Paul Simon’s Graceland– an album renowned for bridging genres and countries- was released in 1986, some YEARS after Julius’s album. Furthermore, Love Peace and Happiness is arguably more culturally significant. The furthest that Modern Western music had dabbled in African music was the blues and rock and roll; with Julius it was groundbreaking. The soulful voice, brass section and Western elements combine with the African rhythms and dense accompanying vocals to make something really special, and so important.
When you listen to Love Peace and Happiness, it is really hard to imagine that nothing like this had really existed before. The album is rich with other sounds of the time, you can hear Stevie Wonder, KC and the Sunshine Band, Earth Wind and Fire, throughout, and Julius’s work really stands up next to these other great artists. Needless to say, the album is lush with original material and intense musicianship. The band are massively on form in the recording, and the dancey beats are really infectious; you want to dance as soon as it starts. The albums title track eases the listener in with a chilled, soulful track, but the beat ramps up by the second song, “Crystal Pleasure”. Rich harmonies fill the album, and the strong funk presence never tires. “Oyetoff Super Hot” brings a slower beat, but opens the funkier second half of the album, with “Get the Funk” sounding years ahead of its time. On top of all of the funky beats and instrumentation, “Get the Funk” has an MC-style narrator and long improvised solo sections where the band really go to work.
Love Peace and Happiness is a wonderful example of historic forward-thinking music making, and is absolutely worth a listen to. It does not sound dated, and is very deserving of its re-release this year.