The Blackbyrds

Night Grooves: The Blackbyrds' Greatest Hits

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Despite the fact that 1989's Greatest Hits rendered this earlier Fantasy compilation obsolete -- Greatest Hits contains all seven songs found here, plus four others -- Fantasy continued to keep this disc in circulation. This is a tighter and more discerning collection, sticking to the absolute essential material that Donald Byrd's protégés churned out during the '70s, but simple mathematics places its value below the later, more inclusive anthology. Those who want to dig deeper can start with any of the group's first four proper LPs; each one peaked in the Top Ten of Billboard's jazz album chart, and they all have their charms beyond the singles. Anyone who bet on the Blackbyrds' material to die a disposable pop death must feel foolish now, as cuts like "Rock Creek Park," "Happy Music," and "Walking in Rhythm" remain completely unironic fixtures in the record crates of many house DJs.

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