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...freedom of ass will result chris clark

C C Rides Again Weed, 1969

impressive as most of the songs were covers, but, like jazz musicians, the Isleys used the previous versions as the starting point for an exploration of music itself. Best known for combining Hendrix’s ‘Machine Gun’ with CSN&Y's ‘Ohio’ to create a 10 minute, slow- burning howl of soulful psychedelic protest, elsewhere the tone is less militant as you’d expect from songs like ‘Fire And Rain’ and ‘Lay Lady Lay’ but equally out there and rewarding. The follow up album Brother.Brother.Brother was just as good but sadly this approach didn’t last long and they spent most of the ’70s coining it in with over- produced LPs in hock to the FM rawk sound that ruined so many great artists.

eugene mcdaniels

Her earlier records on Motown would be best heard on the wooden dance floors of a northern soul club but her second album was an altogether odder confection. The sole release on Motown's ill-conceived subsidiary Weed Records came with the tag line “all your favourite artists are on Weed”. The schtick seemed to be get Chris to sing more rock orientated covers rather than her own material and then make it weird and freaky in the studio by adding overdubs of classical music, massed tubas and odd percussion. The result is as messy and hit-or-miss as Sgt Pepper. Chris’s version of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ is marginally less annoying than the fabs’ too. Turned out to be the last record she made before becoming an important Motown staffer. These days, Chris describes it as “charmingly mortifying in its innocence” which is not something you can say of many records made nowadays.

Givin’ It Back T-Neck, 1971

the isley brothers

Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse Atlantic, 1971


The World Is A Ghetto United Artists, 1972

more so now than back in the early ’70s. True or not, the story is Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew was so horrified by the political forthrightness of this album that he had its distribution squashed. Thus it sold pitifully and was largely forgotten but it is now available on CD and vinyl these days and rightfully so.

More so than any of the other big soul vocal groups, The Isley Brothers’ psychedelic albums sound like they really opened their collective third eye and went for a fundamental and thoroughgoing visionary approach. This is all the more

Eugene McDaniels had some soul pop hits early in the ’60s and wrote for Roberta Flack. He made a break with his past to make the album Outlaw which he followed up with this LP, one hell of an artistic statement. This is one of those great albums, varied in style but consistent in quality and quite unique. The lyrics occupy that perfect psychedelic mindset from the abstract and seemingly nonsensical to hard-hitting, everyday politics, often from one line to the next. Perhaps the best example is ‘Supermarket Blues’ which sounds both silly and trippy but also grim: a black guy trying to return a can of peas is liable to get his ass kicked. From the opener ‘The Lord Is Back’, where Jesus is coming back and boy is he gonna be pissed off; through to the last track, the nine minute ‘The Parasite’ which dissects the decimation of the American Indian, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a non-stop bummer album. It is, but in the same way as Love’s Forever Changes is. Musically it’s flawless, with top flight jazz players and musicians borrowed from Roberta Flack, think Astral Weeks with a hard funk edge and you’d be close. Sharp and precise playing means original copies are highly prized by beat-diggers as well as those interested in more than just drums. A variety of reissues have ensured this album is well known, and certainly widely heard,

While War are famous for their bright, poppy mid-70s funk hits this album in particular is infused with long winding grooves best appreciated by the couch bound. There's little here to set the dancefloors alight. The groove is relentless but slow and the vibe is mellow but edgy. War say that getting stoned could never fully detach you from the harsh reality of whatever ghetto you are in, but it may be the only solution. The loss of inhibitions that Eric Burdon enjoyed in his £sd evangelist phase may just be a strong argument for total abstinence, but it wasn’t all bad. Certainly when he picked Senor Soul he sure helped them stand out from the many similar soul and funk bands. Their dance band background served them well. These are disciplined and skilled musicians who seem to sing en masse with one voice. This album takes the spacey, atmospheric intros from What's Goin' On and makes whole songs out of them. Whole 12 minute songs. If that sounds like your thing then check it out. If you think soul songs should never last more than four minutes top then I’m surprised you made it to the end of this article.


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