The Fatback Band

Let's Do It Again

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The debut album by the soon-to-be venerable Fatback Band is a mostly instrumental -- minus some "What's Going On"-style exclamations and raps in the background -- collection of pure funk grooves. More in the Curtis Mayfield vein of slick and nimble dancefloor fillers than loose Parliament/Funkadelic jams, these nine tracks are concise -- only one track breaks the four-minute barrier -- and tightly constructed, with little room for exploratory soloing or aimless vamping. The key tracks, however, are the three non-originals, cover choices that might surprise some folks who have never heard, say, Isaac Hayes' Black Moses: the Fatback Band strips down any cheesy sentimentality from Glen Campbell's Jimmy Webb hit "Wichita Lineman," Bread's wimp-rock classic "Baby I'm-A Want You," and even the moldy oldie "Green Green Grass of Home," purifying the tunes down to their melodic basics and transforming them into absolutely ravishing deep soul ballads. These are the sort of songs that keep people eagerly snapping up any '70s soul or funk album they can find, looking for just this kind of effortless, slinky groove. Let's Do It Again is highly recommended for the three covers alone, but the six originals, all powered by drummer/bandleader Bill Curtis, are equally fine.

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