This self-titled 1976 release was Con Funk Shun's first album for Mercury/Polygram, and it came at a time when the northern California funk/soul outfit was still obscure -- not until 1977's Secrets did Con Funk Shun become well-known in the R&B world. Although mildly uneven and not in a class with subsequent gems like Secrets and Candy, Con-Funk-Shun isn't a bad album. In 1976, the band still had some growing and developing to do. But it did have a recognizable sound -- which is certainly a plus -- and one hears some potential on tracks that range from the snappy "Sure Feels Good to Me" and the Gamble & Huff-influenced "Nothing to Lose By Trying" to the glossy disco instrumental, "Foley Park." As a rule, Con Funk Shun wasn't a disco band -- it was a funk/soul band that branched out into urban contemporary in the 1980s. But "Foley Park" is the type of disco number that would have worked for the Crown Heights Affair or T-Connection. Overall, this LP's up-tempo funk and dance offerings are decent (if less than remarkable), and so are Northern soul-style ballads like "Never Be the Same" and "Another World." But here's the thing: Con Funk Shun's members had way too much talent to settle for merely decent. Felton Pilate and his colleagues needed to take it to the next level -- both creatively and commercially -- and they did exactly that the following year. With 1977's Secrets, Con Funk Shun enjoyed its big commercial breakthrough and made the transition from decent to excellent. You might say that this out of print LP was the calm before the storm. Although not among Con Funk Shun's essential releases and not recommended to casual listeners, this record is interesting if you're among the funksters' hardcore fans.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson