Friday, August 19, 2022

Zzebra - Take It Or Leave It (1975 nigeria / ghana / uk, extraordinary afro fusion rock)

A three week trip to a rehersal studio in Wales was organized to develop the songs for the third Zzebra's album. Songs were accepted, modified or rejected in an atmosphere of wonderful concentration. Loughty remembered and old Nigerian folksong "Bai La Jo (this is how we dance)", but played it almost like a calypso. It didn't work. The song stuck in Tommy's head and a week later he came up with a slow 6/4 groove. Loughty went back to his room and wrote three verses all in Yuraba dialect. On the finished record Loughty spent hours with Ken and Tommy teaching them the correct pronunciation for their backing vocals. 

Alan Marshall showed Tommy his book of poetry, there were always Buddhist overtones in Alan's lyrics but one especially struck home. "The good is me/ the filth is me/ the devil and the god is me". Searching out lines from other poems, this became "Word Trips".

Tommy showed Steve Byrd a guitar shape that could be a minor 11th. or a major 9th. depending on where the pedal note was. Steve got this glassy look in his eyes and a couple of days later came up with "living". Quincey came up with one of the most beautiful sax solos for this song. Then John McCoy, his big smiling face gave the band two great songs: "No Point" and "Take it Or Leave it".

As usual, the back tracks were recorded at Escape studios and the dubs in Advision. “Bai La Jo” was particulary fun when Loughty invited four of his old friends from Osibisa on percussion This was to be the Zzebra's last album. Loughty moved to New York and was tragically murdered in an argument over a parking space. Dave Quincey decided to work more from business end. Steve Byrd and John McCoy went on to work with Ian Gillan. 

Liam worked with Gerry Rafferty and Tommy worked with among others. George Michael. Gerry Rafferty. Gary Moore. Daryl Hall. BB King and Tracey Chapman. Alan worked on a variety of projects with Tommy, including the legendary Classical Mechanics’ and is now an ordained minister.
by Tommy Eyre, Encino California 1999
1. No Point - 5:26
2. Living - 5:08
3. The Poverty Song - 3:48
4. Bai La Jo - 6:59
5. Word Trips - 5:40
6. Take It Or Leave It - 3:48
7. Evacuate My Sack - 5:30
8. Society - 6:08
All compositions by Tommy Eyre, Dave Quincey, Loughty Amao, Liam Genockey, Steve Byrd, Alan Marshall, John McCoy 

*Tommy Eyre - Keyboards
*Alan Marshall - Vocals
*John McCoy - Bass
*Liam Genockey - Drums
*Steve Byrd - Guitar
*Dave Quincey - Saxes
*Lasissi "Loughty" Amao - Vocals, Percussion, Saxes