Television director Steve Binder was behind the camera for some of the most momentous musical events in TV and movie history, including The T.A.M.I. Show, Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback special, and the series Hullabaloo (as well as the Star Wars Holiday Special and Chevy Chase’s talk show, but the less said about those, the better). One of Binder’s most significant achievements—his Cable ACE-award-winning direction of the 1983 Showtime special Diana Ross Worldwide From New York: For One And All—has gone largely unseen since it originally aired, live, on two consecutive nights in July. The circumstances surrounding the special have become show business legend, though: How Ross stepped on to a bare Central Park stage on July 21, 1983 under threatening skies and tried gamely for 40 minutes to sing her ’60s Motown hits, ’70s ballads, and ’80s disco anthems to a crowd of 400,000 people, while driving rain and gusting winds left her shivering and soaked.
The Best of the Black President is simply a stellar collection that bests any two-disc collection out there as it represents the continued evolution of Fela Kuti's music from the 1960s through the 1990s. Compiled by son Femi, many tracks are edits of the originals – "Gentleman," "Water Get No Enemy," "O.D.O.O." – whose power is not reduced. Still others are second-halfs – like "ITT," "Coffin for Head of State," "No Agreement," "Army Arrangement," and "Shuffering and Schmiling." Still others, such as "Zombie," "Sorrow Tears and Blood," "Shakara" and "Roforofo Fight," are presented in their original form.
Deluxe Vinyl Replicas by Culture Factory constitute high quality reissued compact-discs which reproduce all the components of the original LPs and are their exact replicas in compact-disc size (5.3 x 5.3 inches), with authentic single or gatefold cardboard jackets and paper sleeves. In addition to the above, each compact-disc Deluxe Vinyl Replica includes a black finish CD complete with the original label to give it the look and feel of the original record album. The music is encoded using state of the art, high definition remastering in 96 kHz / 24 BIT audio.
The eponymous first track on Testaments sets the tone for the album. The frenetic energy of his earlier albums (notably Repent, More Live, and Consecration) is still here, but the songs slowly build to the crescendos. "Parables" includes some of his best piano playing. But Gayle saves the best for the CD's last cut, "Jericho." The three-minute piece is breathtaking, as Gayle plays saxophone and piano simultaneously in front of a live audience, while drummer Michael Wimberly's banging cymbals are outdone by Gayle's crashing piano chords. Unfortunately, the first and last tracks on Testaments bookend not-so-memorable in-between material.