The Fatback Band

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XII Review

by Donald A. Guarisco

Fatback maintained the same high standard of quality to produce another impressive slab of funk-tinged disco. XII is notable to hip-hop historians for the track "King Tim III (Personality Jock)," a song often tagged as the first rap song (it was released as a single shortly before the more popular "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang). "King Tim" remains a killer blast of hip-hop, seamlessly mixing a slick old-school rap into the band's intensely funky blend of organ, energetic horn blasts, and a relentless walking bassline. However, this isn't all there is to XII: The album's other tracks present a consistent mix of funky grit and disco slickness. Standout tracks include "Gimme That Sweet, Sweet Lovin'," which layers a Bee Gees-style falsetto vocal with an addictive mid-tempo groove anchored by a synthesizer bass, and "Disco Bass," which blends a catchy chant-along chorus with the serpentine hook mentioned in the title. XII is also notable for the high quality of its sound, which filters the energy of their sound through a carefully crafted soundscape that brings out all the details of their sound: a good example is how the huge drum sounds that propel "You're My Candy Sweet" seem to leap out of the speakers. The only track that tends toward the filler that has marred past Fatback albums is "Disco Queen," but even it is redeemed by its punchy horn arrangement and some catchy background vocals. All in all, XII is one of Fatback's finest albums and a treat for anyone who likes their disco music especially funky.

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