Black Truth Rhythm Band


Soundway • 1976

Trinidad’s Black Truth Rhythm Band pay homage to their African influences on the coveted »Ifetayo« album, remastered and recut for another release on label Soundway. Their only full-length album, initially out in 1976, sees bandleader Oluko Imo bring together afrobeat, funk, and soul with Caribbean flavours of calypso and reggae. They channel these musical influences through the spirituality of òrìṣà reflecting the Black Power movement of the time.

The title track of the album, meaning ‘love excels all’ in Yoruba, sets the tone with the rhythm section producing that intangible feel which locks in deep grooves, something which shines through the whole album. The soft soul of ‘You People’ exemplifies this approach with the band coming together on the downbeat as Imo leads the vocals, and ‘Aspire’ creates joyous, sunset beach vibes. ‘Kilimanjaro’ uses flutes to harness a sense of freedom before the guitarist solos in an energetic outro.

‘Save D Musician’ introduce steel pans for one of the strongest tracks showcasing a calypso sound, whilst the space for improvisation on ‘Umbala’ allows a percussion breakdown of congas and kalimba to gradually push up the tempo. Albeit an under the radar release at the time, the album led to Imo recording with Fela Kuti later in his career, an artist who shares similar themes in his own music. The classic Afro-diasporic sounds from Black Truth Rhythm Band fit perfectly within the more recognisable sounds of the 70s funk and afrobeat scene.