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Ngozi Family – Day Of Judgement

Now-Again, Zamrock — August 5, 2014 | Comments (2)


Zambian guitarist Paul Ngozi’s essential debut album, featuring Chrissy Zebby Tembo. His debut album – issued under the name Ngozi Family – is his masterwork: an important release not just in the Zamrock genre, but in the global rock canon.

Day of Judgement is an introduction to the most intense, raw and inimitable golden era Zamrock recorded, as it paved the way for a dozen Paul Ngozi and Ngozi Family releases (the most famous being drummer Chrissy Zebby Tembo’s My Ancestors) that straddled the line between funk and punk, of driving hard rock and Zambian folk melodies and rhythms.

Day of Judgement was released in 1976, the same year as other, now famous, Zamrock albums, from WITCH’s Lazy Bones!! to Rikki Ililonga’s Zambia to Musi-O-Tunya’s Give Love To Your Children, all reissued on Now-Again. But Day of Judgement sounds like none of its counterparts. Part of that stems from its frenzied primitivism, the Ngozi Family’s attempt to overcome a lack of musical acumen with sheer force of will.

That will allowed Paul Ngozi to overcome a humble upbringing to become the most unlikely combination: Zamrock’s most beloved star in its brief but now-well chronicled arc; the only musician to maintain his fame and recording prowess in the dark ages of the ’80s; an inspiration to not only aging but young Zambians – and now others, beyond Zambia’s borders.

But one cannot imagine Paul Ngozi without this album, a full-on aural assault that sounds as wild nearly forty years after its release as it must have sounded in the developing Zamrock landscape from which it emerged. We listen to this anachronistic yet prescient album now as a wholly original, completely unpredictable album in line with those from mavericks from across the world – from the Ramones to the Sex Pistols to Death. And, though it’s been over two decades since Paul Ngozi’s passing, his voice and vision still seem exciting, powerful, unique, unvarnished, new.


  1. Excellent! I usually run a jaundiced eye over write ups, but this one is right on the button. Was at school when this record came out, but got to know Paul some time later when I hit the road myself. Paul had a wicked sense of humour and a shrewd eye for self-publicity minus self-aggrandisement that kept him in the public firmament. Great to hear him blasting out again via the City of Angels. I will say it again; EXCELLENT.

    Comment by Simwinji — October 7, 2014, 2:48 pm
  2. I finished school in 1975 and I attended a Witch gig at Ridgeway Campus before leaving for national servicd. Lazy Bones and Day of Judgment were already in the shops. When we got back from military training in 1976 Zamrock was dead and John Mwansa and the Five Revolutions had blown it away with one song the kalindula hit Mkamfwilwa. Day of Judgment was Black Sabbath inspired. You may callnit punk but we never listened to the Sex Pistols then. THE WITCH did covers of Santana, Deep Purple, Rolling Stones (of course since that was their main influence at the beginning) and evenGrand Funk Railroad.

    Comment by sichone — December 17, 2014, 7:15 pm

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