It's trouble when the liner notes mention Maceo & All the King's Men's "blending of R&B, pop, easy listening, and Top 40." Funky Music Machine does nothing to disprove that ominous foreshadowing. Their 1970 debut, the much better Doin' Their Own Thing, was recorded after the band left James Brown in a money dispute. Two years later brought Funky Music Machine; it remains to be seen whether that is the length of time it takes for Brown's influence to wear off, though this does seem to offer conclusive proof. If the two Beatles covers and somnambulistic rendering of the '70s AOR standard "Make It With You" aren't enough to dissuade you, consider "I Want to Sing." Some soulful sisters ask Maceo Parker to blow his saxophone, only to have him counter, as the music shifts into an approximation of the Up With People catalog, "I want to sing." And, true to his word, he does for most of the album. Even the mighty J.B.'s were human, after all.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Kurt Edwards