What a difference a few years can make. When Con Funk Shun joined the Mercury/Polygram roster with a self-titled LP in 1976, the Northern Californians were still finding their way. They weren't well known, and despite their tremendous potential, they had yet to make the transition from decent to excellent. But when Candy came out in 1979, Con Funk Shun had come to be regarded as funk royalty -- and deservedly so. Candy, which was the band's fourth album for Mercury, is a gem. This LP contains some excellent love songs; "Not Ready" and the hit single "Let Me Put Love on Your Mind" are fine examples of smooth, romantic '70s soul ballads. But Con Funk Shun was best known for hard, tough, gutsy funk, and there is plenty of that on Candy (which was co-produced by Skip Scarborough). Some people no doubt bought Candy after hearing "Let Me Put Love on Your Mind" on the radio, but most Con Funk Shun fans acquired the record because of sweaty funk jams like "Chase Me," "Main Slice," "Da Lady," and the title song. From the expressive lead vocals of Michael Cooper and Cedric Martin to Con Funk Shun's killer horn section, all of the pieces fall into place nicely on Candy. By the mid-'80s, Con Funk Shun had gone high-tech -- in other words, more synthesizers and drum machines and fewer horns. But in 1979, horn-driven funk bands were still in vogue in the R&B world, and Con Funk Shun was a perfect example of one. Synthesizers were being used in soul and funk, although R&B had yet to go totally electronic. Candy went down in history as one of Con Funk Shun's best albums, and it is isn't hard to understand why.
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