Guitarist/vocalist Paul Ngozi’s debut album â€“ under the name Ngozi Family – is an important record: 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. But it 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 â€“ 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.