Reviews: Crates: LPs: B

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First Base (EMI 72)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    I always knew about The Mexican but never really thought about finding the original until I saw a copy of the Babe Ruth LP in NYC during Spring Break. Of course, it was being sold for $25 so I passed on that shit. I read that The Mexican was a big hit in Canada so I expected to run into a cheap copy up there. I struck out in Toronto and Quebec City, but I found at least six copies in Montreal. This is an English pressing on EMI Records. A really unimpressive rock record with the exception of The Mexican. Just goes to show you how the original DJís in the 70s could make something out of nothing.

Back Door 
8TH STREET NITES (Warner Brothers 73)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    Back Door was a three-piece outfit from England. 8th Street Nites was recorded on a trip to New York City. While the singing is in the Blues-Rock mold popular at the time, the music is a mix of Rock, Funk, Jazz and Blues. That mix provides for some interesting songs like Linin Track that has a great bouncing bass line during the instrumental parts, which are quite long in between the singing. Despite the name, Blue Country Blues is a good Soul-Jazz instrumental, as are Dancin In The Van and Itís Nice When Itís Up. The instrumental One Day Youíre Down, The Next Day Your Down is more on the Rock side, but nonetheless sounds good. There are a couple other instrumentals worth a listen, making Back Door a very interesting album.

Black Grass Music (Paramount 73)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    Looking for some country funk? Well you got it here. Black Grass Music is probably best known for the song Black Grass because it was featured on UBB. The tune is a perfect example of Bascombís country funk aesthetics with a country sound right down to a banjo player, but with a funk backbeat and a little drum break to boot. Fire And Rain is a bit of a contradiction. It starts off as a pretty bad love song, but then half way through the singer calls out for ìFireî and the thing turns into a funky get down. Not sure what the thinking was behind that arrangement, but the second half is definitely worth listening to. Soul Hoe Down and the instrumental Give The Bass A Taste, that has a really short drum break, are also pretty good.

Balliníjack (Columbia 70)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    When I first learned about the Sample FAQ I printed out the entire thing and read it from end to end, noting all of the samples used by my favorite artists. Balliníjackís self-titled album contained a sample for Gangstarrís Step In The Arena on the cut Never Let Em Say, which is why I bought it. To my surprise, the album also had the guitar line used by Young MC for Bust A Move on Found A Child. The song also starts off with a strong drum break. Most of the album is soulful Rock with some hints of Jazz such as Festival. There are plenty of nice listening points throughout the record, but the singing is a little bit of a letdown like the slow and mellow Carnival that has a flute break in the middle, and the faster paced Hold On with a nice funky guitar intro. This was probably one of the first ten things I ever bought off eBay.

Buzzard Luck (Columbia 72)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    Buzzard Luck saw Balliníjack return with a harder, more soulful sound epitomized by the first cut, So Do I. In fact, the whole first side is pretty catchy Soul-Funk with strong horn lines and a supporting rhythm section on Good Man, (Come Round Here) Iím The One You Need and Trouble. The funky goodness continues onto the B-side with Telling Lies and Playin The Game. Balliníjackís first self-titled LP gets a lot of hype because of the samples it contains, but Buzzard Luck is much better and more consistent record.

Special Pride (Mercury 73)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    LAís, via Seattle, Ballin Jack is best known for its self-titled LP that was sampled and full of breaks. The bandís other albums also offer something for listeners. Thereís some nice parts like the short, but funky beginnings to This Song, Try To Relax and Special Pride, the Latin sounding rhythm to Good Feeling, and the quick conga break by King Errison that starts Sunday Morning. Overall, Special Pride is worth a listen, but not essential.

The Band (Capitol 69)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    The Band became famous as the supporting group for Bob Dylan when he decided to go electric. Later, when they released their own albums, they became critically acclaimed and made a couple hits like The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down included on this record. For beat diggers, thereís Up On Cripple Creek that has a funky beginning that Gangstarr sampled. The last song, King Harvest (Has Surely Come) also has some catchy moments. You can find this record everywhere for very cheap.

Coldblooded (Stax 73)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    Coldblooded saw a big change in the sound and look of the Bar-Kays. In the two band pictures, including the large gatefold picture on the inside cover, the band is in full costume with face make-up and two with bleached blond hair. The music is also different with strong hints of rock such as the opening title track. Thereís a soft drum break at the beginning of In The Scheme Of Things. Smiling, Styling & Profiling has a slow and funky guitar and drum intro before a harmonica and the rhythm section join in. The whole album is extremely laid back and has early Parliamentfunkadelic tendencies. Really, a big fall off from their earlier work in my opinion.

Do You See What I See? (Volt 72)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    The Bar-Kays started off as the backing band for Otis Redding before signing their own deal with Stax Records and becoming the new set of session musicians, along with the horns of the Mar-Kays, to work with Steve Cropper and Booker T. Unfortunately, almost the entire band was killed along with Otis Redding in a plane crash in 1967. Two members survived to reform the band. Do You See What I See? was the bandís 4th album and reflects the political changes going on in the country. The cover is full of drawings of issues from the times like Native Americans, busing of black children, the anti-War movement, student protests, drugs, violence, etc. The music is as good as the cover with hot funk songs like the title track, It Ainít Easy the instrumental Love Pollution, and People, Unite To Save Humanity. The funky stuff is tempered by power ballads like God Is Watching. Youíre The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me starts off like another power ballad, but half way through the band turns funky with a catchy guitar line and horn stabs for the rest of the song.

Flying High On Your Love (Mercury 77)
Reviewed by: Motown67

    Despite the late date, the Bar-Kays were still able to produce some good songs on Flying High On Your Love. For example, Shut The Funk Up is a catchy dance song. Letís Have Some Fun has an upbeat Parliamentfunkadelic sound to it and itís been sampled several times.

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