Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hawk - Africa She Too Can Cry (1972)

One of the few progressive rock bands to have formed in South Africa during the prime years of the genre, Hawk were chased from their home city of Johannesburg, nearly destroyed alongside so many other groups by the insanity that was apartheid. Thankfully, English record label Charisma took note of the band's talent and got them in one piece to the U.K., where their unusually rhythmic, funky take on epic prog. music was ecstatically received by a very different kind of audience from what they were familiar with. They would later tour with bands such as Genesis and Van Der Graaf Generator for several years afterward before falling into unfortunate obscurity. 

This rare 1972 release is Hawk's sophomore album, and it doesn't sound like anything else from the decade. Lead vocals are soulful yet dramatic in the depth of their timbre, the rhythm section thrashes madly against psychedelic fuzz guitar spiraling into suites and choral rage at the injustices that not only occur in Africa, but across the world as well into the present day. It's a very earthy record full of dreaming concrete facets and potential - the Hendrixian psychedelic elements sometimes bend Afro-pop, funk and West Coast into wholly new shapes ['Uvuyo', 'Mumbo Jumbo', 'Hunter'], elements which work so finely in tandem that even the 16 minute whopper of a centerpiece 'African Day Suite' into one of the 70's prog. rock's most memorable colossi, and one that will certainly incite repeated listens to the intrepid listener.

Marvelous records like this are the reason people like you and I listen to music in the first place, so get it while you can. Where else are you going to find the ravenous spirit of Fela Kuti, the haze and atmosphere of Jimi Hendrix and the grandeur of Yes or Genesis all locked away together in one glorious sonic package?

Listen Here - "War Talk"

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