Back in the late '60s, there were several bands that amped up the smooth and sexy R&B sound of the day -- giving it a shot of adrenaline and a bit more, well, cajones. The prime example of this approach was the mighty MC5, but there were other acts that followed the same template -- albeit all but forgotten over the years -- such as Black Pearl. Although they hailed from San Francisco and were pals of the Grateful Dead, they did not reflect the expected hippie-dippie-isms from bands of that area/era. Singer Bernie B.B. Fieldings had obviously studied his James Brown records, as his vocal delivery brings to mind the hardest working man in show business, as well as the MC5's Rob Tyner at times. But unlike the 5, Black Pearl weren't loaded with as many memorable hooks in their songs, nor a raise-your-fist-in-the-air anthem like "Kick Out the Jams." Still, their lone studio album (their other release was a live recording) -- a self-titled release from 1969 -- provided a much needed alternative to all the mellow/laid-back music that was ruling the mainstream at the time, especially on such funky-psychedelic-garage rock ditties as "Crazy Chicken" and "Mr. Soul Satisfaction." As you've probably guessed by now, if you're a fan of the MC5, it would certainly be worth it to hunt down a copy of Black Pearl.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato