The Jimmy Castor Bunch

It's Just Begun

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This 1972 outing set the tone for the Jimmy Castor Bunch's 1970s success through an effective and distinctive mix of funk, pop hooks, social commentary, and gonzo comedy. It's Just Begun also helped the group score a million-selling crossover hit single with "Troglodyte." This memorably whacked-out funk jam is built on an infectious fuzz-guitar hook and features Castor detailing the romantic adventures of a caveman who meets up with Bertha Butt, a comic character that would continue to appear on his albums for many years to come. The album also included a b-boy favorite in its title track, a salsa-inflected funk excursion whose breakbeats continued to be spun by DJs well into the 1980s. Beyond these favorites, the group knocks out a relentless stream of thick, funky grooves as Jimmy Castor tackles everything from morality ("You Better Be Good (Or the Devil Gon' Getcha)") to philosophy ("L.T.D.," which stands for life, truth, and death). To add variety, Castor also throws in "My Brightest Day," a sweet, horn-accented ballad, and "I Promise to Remember," an updated slice of doo wop that Castor originally penned for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. The album's all-things-to-all-people sense of ambition occasionally overwhelms the final product: for instance, "Creation," the dissonant orchestral instrumental that bookends the album, doesn't really have any reason to be there. Despite these quibbles, It's Just Begun is an important and influential release from a sadly underrated group and well worth a listen for anyone interested in the roots of 1970s funk.

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