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The Story behind “Going back to my Roots

“Going back to my roots”, a song written and released in 1977 by Lamont Dozier, the song was produced by Stewart Levine and  Hugh Masakela. The song was Reproduced by Odyssey in 1981 and it did well in the European charts and fairly well in The R&B charts in the USA. 

The song according to an embittered American born Nigerian Orlando Ekemode Julius was based on a concept of his song called “Ashiko”, which he produced in the late 60's and it was a song which he normally rehearses with his band to make it sound better. According to OJ he did not record the song for commercial use but had it on a tape /cassette. which he said he used in putting other parts to.

Lamont Dozier album sleeve

 Not long after he went to the USA in 1972 and he formed a group called Emoja in Washington.  They rehearsed from time to time. During one of the rehearsals Hugh Masakela a South African Musician based in the USA  came to listen to them, he was known to some members of the band but not to Orlando, Hugh was so impressed with what he heard that he brought out his horns And started playing with the band that day. 

Along the line while Jamming separately around the country (USA) Hugh and Orlando's paths crossed again and Hugh asked if Orlando's  band could be his backing band, this association took Hugh’s and Emoja band across the USA and they landed in Los Angeles where Orlando met Stuart Levine Hugh's producer who would later ask Orlando if he would let him use his track Ashiko on Hugh's album. Which Orlando did not object to. One day Stuart called OJ to the studio and when OJ got to the studio Stuart gave him a tape to listen to, and  told him about the great Lamont Dozier who was the one singing on a song called “Going back to my roots”  on the tape , OJ while listening to the song  could hear his composition Ashiko being used in the song, he advised Levi that he could make the percussion works towards the end of the song better by playing his talking drum towards the end of the song and will also feature another talking drummer (Shamsideen) a Nigerian who used to Play with the great Ambrose Campbell. In addition OJ brought in two African American ladies who he taught  the chorus of the song,  "Kawa o ma ranti, iranti ye o,ishedale baba awa” ,meaning that we should remember our roots back in Africa . After the session Levine gave Orlando two thousand dollars. Which he made him sign for, this was to pay the Singers and the other talking drummer, he also said to OJ to come back and see him . By the time Orlando went to LA to see Levine he had moved to New York. 

Hugh Masekela

Fast forward OJ went back to Nigeria after sometime in the USA and went from one club to the other and he could hear deejays playing the Lamont Dozier song “Going back to my roots' ' This song was on heavy rotation in the clubs.  While in one of these  Clubs he asked to see the the Album Sleeve of the song “Going back to my roots”, he looked all over the album cover for the credits for the song, to OJ 's surprise he saw Hugh's name on the credits, and he OJ, his input  was not even mentioned. All that was written was that it was an OJ Translation. In 1981 Odyssey a US based R&B group recorded and released the song and it was a big Hit for them.

Odyssey album Sleeve

 OJ now contacted some lawyers in California who at first showed interest, and he was asked to come back, by the time OJ went back all they could say to him was that there was a conflict of interest. Orlando had no choice but to release Ashiko to let the world know who owns the concept of the song “Going back to my roots” .

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