Paul Ngozi was the wild man of the Zamrock scene, an artist who embraced the accoutrements and antics of rock and brandished the electric guitar with a signature primitive style and brutal sonic intensity. Drenched in fuzz, phaser and wah-wah, Ngozi's tone and face-melting guitar solos are instantly recognisable in his capacity as bandleader of the Ngozi Family, supporting drummer Chrissy Zebby Tembo's outings or recording as a solo artist. "Ngozi" means danger, making the substation electrocution cover of his 1977 album 45,000 Volts particularly appropriate. The album's stylised sleeve was designed by bassist Norman Muntemba of the group Salty Dog, a man who played an important role in cultivating the aesthetics of Zamrock and tellingly went on to establish a successful advertising business in his later years. The LP was also released in Kenya with alternate artwork depicting an illustrated fist holding a bolt of lighting.
Paul Ngozi was born in the mean streets of Lusaka's Chibolya township on 10 January 1949 and cut his teeth with childhood friend Chrissy Zebby Tembo in the bands Scorpions followed by Three Years Before, a witty nod to British blues-rock giants Ten Years After. Filling the boots of departed co-founder and guitarist Rikki llilonga, Ngozi joined Kenya-based Zamrock pioneers Musi-O-Tunya for a brief stint and appeared on the non-album single "Tselugani." His debut album with Ngozi Family was the Zambia Music Parlour release Day of Judgement in 1976, an unschooled channelling of raw power that stretched Zamrock into the spectrum of proto-punk.
45,000 Volts on the Chris Editions label captures Ngozi Family at a creative peak in 1977 and the set provides a good balance of English and vernacular offerings set to some of Ngozi's most confident and accomplished fuzz riffing. The recording was beautifully captured by engineer Detef Degener at Sapra Studio in Nairobi with Chissy Zebby Tembo's drums and Tommy Mwale's bass prominently mixed to prop up Ngozi's guitar shenanigans. Noteworthy moments include the utterly obnoxious guitar intro/outro to "I’ll Be With U" and shades of Black Sabbath that creep into the ghost story "House of Fear."
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