Album of the Day: Harry Mosco, “Peace & Harmony”

After relocating to London in 1973, Nigerian Afro-rock stars The Funkees made the decision to obfuscate their mighty Igbo roots and tip the band’s stylistic scales in a more westerly direction. When the group broke up in 1978, co-founder Harry Mosco reoriented himself as a breezy funker-for-all-seasons on hit singles like “Country Boy” (1978) and “Sugar Cane Baby” (1982).

In 1979, Mosco released Peace & Harmony, a sleek sleeper of an album that touches on most of Mosco’s modes and adds a couple of outstanding surprises. Star Wars synths—all the rage by ’79—and a sly, muted jazz trumpet embellish “Sexy Dancer,” Peace & Harmonys slinky and seamless four-to-the-floor opener. And on side two, Mosco delivers a passionately laidback one-two punch with the mellow disco-reggae title track and its intricate and heady version of same, “Peaceful Dub.”

Mosco may have been the album’s writer, arranger, and producer, but some of the credit for its more inventive moments, especially that terrific dub track, is owed to engineer Mark Lusardi, who’d been working with London alt-reggae-rock troublemakers like Public Image Ltd., Jah Wobble, and Dennis “Blackbird” Bovell.

“I got reggae in my eyes, rock ‘n’ roll on my lips,” sings Mosco on Peace & Harmony’s closing boogie, “Do It Together.” Having opted for the disco imperative, The Funkees were no more; Mosco himself released only two more albums and would die penniless in 2012. “But I still can’t get no satisfaction,” he continues, “’cause Afro is the main thing.”

-Richard Gehr

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s