The Fatback Band

Fired Up 'N' Kickin'

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The New York funk band's LP is divided into two segments, the Freak Party and the Foot Stompin' sides. Foot Stompers first: you won't find a better girl-watching song than "I Like the Girls," awhere an incessant bass riff drives the funky anthem; some timely rim drumming and cowbells embellish the beat along with well-placed horn riffs. "Snake" has a Latin beat and relies heavily on salsa horns; it's pure jazz and shows Fatback's versatility, with some tasty solos added for seasoning. The side concludes with "Can't You See," a laid-back tune, real laid-back, so laid-back you wonder why it's on the Foot Stompin' side. "I'm Fired Up" kicks off the Freak Party side; the vocals are muddy and the words (the few there are) are hard to distinguish, but so what? Fatback is about the beat, the rhythms and the musicianship. "Boogie Freak" has a more infectious beat, and the lyrics are more interesting than "Fired," though they ripped the girlish backing vocals from the Ohio Players. The weakest tune on the album is "Get Out On the Dance Floor"; it has too many changes, weak lyrics, and uninspired vocals -- if I never heard it again it wouldn't be too soon, 5:40 seconds of nothing. "At Last" (yes, the old standard) concludes the Freak side. The classic is done in straight-ahead lounge-club style; a better vocalist might have made something of this, as the arrangement is superb, but the vocalist is adequate at best. Like the Foot Stompin' side, the Freak Side failed to live up to its name.

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