March 21, 2001
Album: Aki Special Artist: Prince Nico Mbarga International Label: Rounder Records Corp. Nigerian Label: Rogers All Stars Recorded in Onitsha, Nigeria This International Release: 1987 Producer: Nico
1. Aki Special: This is one of Nico's greatest hits. It's a song that reminds people to stay humble no matter the situation they find themselves in. "Money good o we know/But if you get money/Make you no laugh the people wey no get/Opportunity comes but once".
2. Christiana: Oh! Christiana, why break my heart? Nico weaves a story about Christiana, a beautiful lady that agrees to marry him. But after spending all his money on her including sending her abroad for studies, she comes back only to reject him and pour sand into his garri. She even offers to give him money to marry another woman! A highly charged track.
3. Sweet Mother: This track needs no introduction to any African on this planet. This is the biggest West African hit of all time. It also crosses over because it has that Congo music appeal. A universal song that pays tribute to the mothers. "Sweet mother/I no go forget you/For the suffer wey you suffer for me".
4. "Wayo-in-law": A very funny song about an untrustworthy in-law. Apparently the in-law's forte is to dupe his relatives.
5. "Ladies and gentlemen/In the year 1976/The Nigerian government brought to us free education/The government does not forget us". This is the proclamation that starts the track. When was the last time you heard anybody sing the praises of the Nigerian government? All in all it's still a good track as Nico and his band supports the fight for the eradication of illiteracy in the country.
6. Onye Ori Obi: A funny love song about a cat that has been smitten by love. All his thoughts are focused on this girl. Nico accuses the girl of stealing his heart and pleads with her to return his heart because he has lost his mind and can't think straight anymore.
7. "Nature": This is a song about nature and how we should respect it because it is God's creation. Beware!!
Prince Nico Mbarga is a legend that must never be forgotten. Together he and his band gave us hits that packed dance floors across the nation. These timeless tracks were recorded in the 70s and they make nonsense of today's fragile and monotonous music. While the lyrics speak for itself, the instrumentals on this album is one of the most captivating I've ever heard on any album. This is fast-paced Panco music (as Nico and the band calls it) that will take you to another level and keep you moving. One constant formula that really works is the way they break down the tracks at approximately the halfway point and proceed to launch a musical assault with catchy ad-libs. The shortest cut clocks in at 7:51 and the longest 10:42. Classics like this can never be replaced. Do yourself a favor and pick up this album.
Rating: 5 out of 5 "Isi Ewu's".