Too Bad

Back to Our Roots, Vol. 1

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Too Bad tackles ten funk and soul songs with stripped-down, lean arrangements on this release, with a set including songs by the likes of Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder. There's a hint of jazz to the execution, but it doesn't get far out. For the most part, these are instrumental renditions, though Deborah Lynn Cole takes vocals on a couple of tracks, and G.T.O. (that's the name in its entirety) does the same on "Think (About It)." Back to Our Roots, Vol. 1 is a curious outing. It's hard to tell whether the point was to rework these songs -- several of them quite familiar -- in a new way. Or perhaps the idea was just to provide some nice background funk, presumably for listeners who might not be familiar with the originals, because these are certainly less exciting than the sources and not inventive enough to cause any heads to turn. Back to Our Roots is best when it gets into jazzy and bluesy flavors, as on the cover of James Brown's "Doing It to Death," and worst when the keyboards in particular venture pretty far into the middle of the road.

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