Fela Kuti - Army Arrangement VinylRegular price $45.60
Knitting Factory Records/Cooking Vinyl are proud to reissue the individual titles from the Fela Kuti Box Set #4 Curated by Erykah Badu.
Army Arrangement is about Nigeria’s attempt at ‘democracy’ in 1979 after more than a decade of military rule. In 1970, Nigeria emerged from a three-year Biafra civil war with the largest standing army in black Africa, no financial debts – careering along on at least two million barrels of sulphur-low oil, pumped daily into the world market. With such revenue invested prudently in the Nigerian economy, there should be no reason for any Nigerian to live below the poverty line. However, with persistent scandals of corruption as the standard in every administration since independence, the army has lost all credibility to effect any change in the system. Especially since the arrival of the military in the political arena created the illusion of a peaceful ‘democratic’ participation in government. With the daily running of government carried out by civilians who reported to military bosses, Fela, I this song, calls on the people to be bold enough to criticise the government, because fear of the man with the gun would not put an end to the sufferings of the masses, who eventually pay for government mismanagement.
Government Chicken Boy are what you could call ‘establishment boys’- believers of the establishment and the system. Fela compares them with the chicken, crowing at dawn like an alarm clock, waking people for the day’s job ahead. He sings: ‘…su! su! we dey chase chicken him dey run! Him go try to fly! Him go land with him mouth! Him mouth go dey drag for ground! Gerere! Gerere….!’. Government Chicken boy, like the chicken, could be chased away from the grain at will an recalled back to share the same grain again. Like tools of the system, they can be dispensed with at will. Fela says if you ask him where to find ‘government chicken boy’ – the answer is in government ministries and establishments, civil servants, police, army, commissioner, minister, and the president. The news media he also calls ‘government chicken boys’ because of the way they depend on Western sources of information. He also criticises their organisation structures and ethic – which he regards as not just a carbon copy of Western news media, but a poor imitation of them. Finally, Fela says that among these ‘government chicken boys’, you find some good people and bad people. For the good people, it is a big fight ‘na wahala’ for them to stay up-right and give good advice, but for the bad people have a disease called ‘shaky-shaky’.
1. Army Arrangement
2. Government Chicken Boy