Charles Earland

The Dynamite Brothers

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Charles Earland composed and played on the soundtrack to The Dynamite Brothers, one of the most obscure blaxploitation movies. Although there were some soul-jazz elements in the score, it also reflected the move among many musicians from that background into funk, fusion, and rock territory in the early- to mid-'70s, particularly in the synthesizers by Patrick Gleeson. It often sounds like the kind of music you might have heard from a band warming up a crowd for a Miles Davis concert of the time. It's suitably slightly spaced soul/funk/fusion, atmospheric but not too heavy on remarkable compositional ideas. Gleeson does come up with some eerie wavering, high-pitched effects and squiggles on his ARP 2600 and Pro Soloist synths, and Earland gets down with some real earthy extended bluesy soloing on "Shanty Blues." Earland switches from organ to soprano sax on the most avant-garde and dissonant outing, the eight-minute "Snake." In 2001, the album was paired on a single-CD reissue on Prestige with another blaxploitation soundtrack, the Blackbyrds' Cornbread, Earl and Me.

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