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Osibisa

Sunshine Day : The Boyhood Sessions (50th Anniversary Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

Osibisa is a band that's always been sort of at the edge of my interests, largely because Roger Dean did one of their album covers. I've never really heard a lot of their music, though. This compilation album combines remixes, live tracks and studio recordings to create a set that has quite a good range. I really dig the mix of reggae and African sounds merged into more mainstream rock music. Some of the remixes don't work as well as other songs here, but this is all entertaining.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Sunshine Day (Boyhood Mix)
There is a keyboard heavy groove at play as this gets going. The track has a cool energy and vibe built into it. There is a real soulful feeling to it. Reggae elements are heard on the vocals at the end of the tune.
Feel Good (Boyhood Summer Mix)
This has a real dance-mix sound on display here. This cut is packed full of funk. It's a fun and energized tune. This gets some old-school rapping at points, and the chorus hooks are catchy.
Hold On (Hoodie Mix)
A classic soul vibe is mixed with more modern elements on this. I love the bass work on this cut. The whole tune just grooves with so much style, and the hooks are positively infectious.
Woyaya (Acoustic Live)
I really dig this live reggae tune. It has a lot of style and charm. There is a vocal only section later that includes an audience participation element.
Superfly Man (Live)
Bouncy and fun, this is more of a pop tune than a reggae one, yet there are some reggae elements at play. The saxophone brings some jazz home to roost here. I dig the organ solo a lot, too.
Sunshine Day (Live)
There is some serious funk built into this groove. The chorus hook works so well, and the rest of the vocal performance really rocks. I really love the piano work on this tune.
Abele (New Studio)
Reggae, funk and jazz merge on this smoking hot groove. This thing is just so much fun. It's hard to not move with this tune is playing. It has some killer smooth jazz guitar work built into it at times. The saxophone playing brings some magic, too. This instrumental is all class.
Inkosi Sikeleli Africa (Alternate)
With many of the lyrics not in English, there is a rocking sort of almost electronic vibe to this, but with a real reggae groove. I think the bass end of the mix is a little too far up in the mix, but it's a fun tune. It gets pretty well powered up and soaring before it's over.
Djankoso (Studio)
Fusion with a decidedly African element is the order of business on this killer tune. In some ways I'm reminded just a little of early Santana. This is another winner on a disc packed full of strong music. There are some non-English vocals late bringing more of that African angle as a horn explores the musical terrain in style.
Jumbo (Studio)
Tribal percussion and vocals that fit with them are at the heart of this number as it gets going. This is a short number at just over a minute-and-a-half, and it doesn't wander far.
Ayiko Bia (Live)
Tribal styled vocals are heard at the start of this. The cut fires out from there into a killer old-school psychedelic rock styled jam. The horns are tasty, but so is the whole song. More of those vocals with a call and response approach come up later. This is a fun groove that combines seemingly disparate things into an effective groove. There is a percussion showcase movement later in the number. A short, but killer jazz jam erupts after that to close the tune.
Sunshine Day (Boyhood Summer Mix)
Keyboard textures brings this remix of the classic tune into being. The familiar melodies and grooves emerge amidst that backdrop. The whole piece has a lot of energetic electronic fusion textures with some elements of disco in the mix. This is fun, but not my favorite version of the song by a long shot.
 
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