Rare Gems Odyssey

Rare Gems Odyssey

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It's quite possible that 99 percent of the world's R&B lovers have never heard of Rare Gems Odyssey, a little-known disco/funk/soul combo from Los Angeles. Released in 1977, the band's self-titled debut album received very little attention. Only one song on this record (which was produced by Arthur G. Wright) deserves to be called a gem: the hilarious, relentlessly funky "What Is Funk." Grooving to a James Brown-like riff, the members of Rare Gems Odyssey provide six minutes of goofy, wacky jive talk and make "What Is Funk" a classic that would have been worthy of Parliament/Funkadelic. But that's the only great tune on the LP. From disco-funk items like "Psychic Lady" and "Restricted Area" to the soul ballad "Rocky Mountain," the rest of Rare Gems Odyssey is mediocre -- not terrible, but definitely mediocre. Commercially, the album bombed, and Casablanca gave Rare Gems Odyssey the boot. This LP went out of print in 1978 and is unlikely to ever be reissued on CD.

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