New Birth

Behold the Mighty Army

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Their second album for Warner Bros. and the last before the band called it quits two years later, New Birth's late-1977 Behold the Mighty Army LP may have sounded their death knell, but it still managed to shimmy up the R&B charts, scoring the band their sixth Top 30 hit in four years. Packed with brass and bass and funk guitar riffs, New Birth attempted to revitalize themselves one last time -- and, true to form, they succeeded, with a fierce set that brought two more singles to the charts. Both the opening "The Mighty Army," which wraps the groove around a near-seven-minute jam, and the resonating "Deeper" can be counted among some of the band's finest moments. Elsewhere, "Ain't It Something" combines a slick, brassed-up vibe with rough vocals to stunning effect, while New Birth takes the energy down a notch across a handful of slower songs, including the dirty funk of "Squeezing Too Much Living" and "Your Love Is," a wonderful ballad that has so many golden moments that it's a surprise that it was lost in the band's hit machine. Although there's no doubt that the band had a heyday across their Nite-Liters incarnation, it's important to note that as New Birth, they still had some feisty tricks up their sleeve. Ultimately, Behold the Mighty Army is proof of that pudding, for even teetering on the brink of destruction, the band pulled together a remarkable set.

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