Phyrework

Phyrework

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It's safe to say that 99 percent of the world's R&B fans have never heard of Phyrework, an obscure soul-funk band whose 1978 self-titled debut album received very little attention. Mercury/PolyGram didn't give this LP a very aggressive promotional push, and as a result, most R&B fans at the time didn't even know that it existed. Produced by Con-Funk-Shun guitarist Michael Cooper, Phyrework isn't earth shattering but it is generally competent and didn't deserve to be ignored. The record contains a few examples of tough, hard, Bar-Kays-like funk, including "Put Your Hands Up" and "My Funk." But most of the material favors a much smoother, lighter style of soul-pop. Think of the Average White Band performing "Soul Searching" or George Benson singing "Give Me the Night," and you will have an idea what type of sound Phyrework is going for on tunes like "Fly Away," "Make It Last," and "Dance With Me." Phyrework takes a sharp left turn on the totally unexpected "Mystic Mariner," a jazz-fusion instrumental that wouldn't have been out of place at a Return to Forever or Larry Coryell session. But make no mistake: this is an R&B release first and foremost. It's too bad the album fell between the cracks.

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