Wells Fargo’s heavy rock music exploded in Zimbabwe in the 1970s, during the last decade of the country’s War of Independence. This is the first time Wells Fargo’s revolutionary music has been released outside of Zimbabwe – Watch Out!, for the first time in album form, is available via Vinyl Me Please’s subscription service in June.
We’ve hinted at the work that we’re doing in Zimbabwe, researching, archiving and reissuing the best of the country’s 70s rock and funk scene. It’s difficult to describe in a few words how complicated this process has been to date – and our associate Matthew Shechmeister has done the music gods’ work in the country, tirelessly attempting to document a scene before its scattered remnants are discarded or, quite literally, burned.
Egon talked about the scene in a three part interview with BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, and Now-Again has issued Zimbabwean rock songs as part of our 7″ Sure Shots series and the Christophe Lemaire anthology Can’t You Hear Me?
Now, in conjunction with Vinyl Me Please’s LP subscription service, we are issuing the first album from this scene, from one of Zimbabwe’s great rock bands: Wells Fargo. It comes out in June. In extensive liner notes packaged with the Vinyl Me Please issue, Matthew Shechmeister tells the story of just how black Zimbabweans were able to pen, record and release revolutionary music under dire circumstances, oppressed by a systematically racist Rhodesian government.
This project is exclusive to Vinyl Me Please for six months. The Vinyl Me Please issue includes:
– 180 gram, yellow + green tie dye vinyl
– Gatefold jacket
– 20-pg liner notes books
– 12” x 12” original art print by Sanghon Kim
– Original cocktail recipe courtesy of Zach Wilks.
Now-Again will issue a version of the album with an expanded book in January 2017. It will be pressed on 145 gram vinyl, and will not come with the art print or cocktail recipe. The LP will come in single, 2 panel jacket and will be packaged as a “Now-Again Book,” with a custom 12″ x 12″ book holder containing a softcover book. The CD version will come as a hard-cover book.
You can read an edited version of Matthew’s liner notes here and, below, you can read what Vinyl Me Please has to say about this album.
Vinyl Me Please writes:
Every once in awhile an album or band comes out of nowhere and takes over your turntable. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s one of the best parts of loving this stuff in the first place and when it does, you feel like you’ll never be the same. And, dramatics aside, you probably won’t be. There’s a special kind of love you develop for music you wake up one day knowing nothing about and go to sleep feeling overwhelmed by. A special attachment you develop to the things that wreck you.
That’s how Wells Fargo’s album Watch Out! was for us. The people who made this record, and the world it came out of, make for the most compelling and heart wrenching story we’ve ever heard behind an album we’ve featured. No question, the history of this thing is going to shake you up. And the music itself is no less forceful. Released as a call to arms for a blooming civil war and kept from a full release by racist labels, Watch Out! is the kind of full frontal revolution rock that would have made flower children squeamish and Jimi Hendrix weep. There’s so much more I could say about it but we’ve brought in some of our favorite writers to do that for me and I can’t wait for you to read what they’ve put together. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: This album matters in the same way all the great ones do. Because of the freedom it brings whenever it’s played.