Hamilton Bohannon

Phase II

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With one foot firmly embedded in the monstrous disco movement and the other continuing to tickle the jazz sensibilities, Hamilton Bohannon's Phase II was yet another blissfully orchestrated funk exploration in what some could say was becoming a series. And like the other albums before it, Phase II wouldn't earn any glittering feathers on anyone's cap; its one break-away single, the captivating "Bohannon's Disco Symphony," only came to rest at number 67 on the R&B charts. It wasn't until the following year's "Let's Start the Dance" that he would crack the Top Ten -- for the first and last time.

What made Phase II most interesting is that the album became a reunion of sorts for Bohannon. With guest appearances by old bandmates Melvin Ragin and Ray Parker, Jr., a spark was ignited and duly kindled across the set. "Isn't It a Beautiful Morning" was an odd blend of disco guitar surrounded by what only could be described as music for a never-ending elevator ride. It's bizarrely bad, yet incredibly compelling. Elsewhere, Bohannon and company get their groove on across the slightly smarmy and Shaft-like opener, "Andrea," and the instrumental "Moving Fast." It was the funk-affected "Just Doing My Thang," though, with its great background vocals and punchy arrangement, that hit the high point in this set. That Hamilton Bohannon is an incredibly gifted musician is a fact; that he got sideswiped by disco is another. This album certainly wouldn't knock your socks off, but still it's an easy listener and as wallpaper it's quite magnificent.

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