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Osiris – 1978 – Since Before Our Time

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Led by singer Osiris Marsh, Osiris was a fine but obscure soul/funk outfit that was active in Washington, D.C., in the late ’70s. The band’s influences included Sly & the Family Stone and Funkadelic, and like Earth, Wind & Fire, Osiris was interested in the culture of ancient Egypt. Osiris’ debut album, Since Before Our Time, came out on Warner Bros. in 1979; unfortunately, the LP received very little attention, and Osiris (which Warner dropped), broke up without ever recording a second album.

In addition to lead singer Marsh, Osiris’ members included bassist Tony Jones, keyboardist Maceo Bond, saxman Ron Holloway, bassist Tyrone Brunson, guitarist Brent Mingle, drummer Kenny Jones, and percussionist Jimmy “Sha Sha” Stapleton. After Osiris’ breakup, Holloway kept busy as a jazz musician and went on to record several hard bop albums for Milestone/Fantasy in the 1990s.

A1 Gamin’ 6:12
A2 My Love 4:36
A3 Almost (Never Gets There) 5:07
B1 What’s The Use? 3:54
B2 Consistency 3:24
B3 Damn 7:48

Recorded in 1977 and 1978 and released in 1979, Osiris’ debut album, Since Before Our Time, is a perfect example of a solid soul/funk release that fell through the cracks and did very little commercially. One can speculate on the reasons why this little known LP was ignored. Some might argue that Osiris’ Sly Stone-influenced material wasn’t disco enough for 1979, but then, Maze & Frankie Beverly had no problem going gold in the late ’70s without jumping on the disco bandwagon.

From a commercial standpoint, the problem with Since Before Our Time isn’t a lack of disco, it’s the lack of a really strong single. Tunes like “Damn“, “Almost (Never Gets There)” and “Consistency” work well on an album, but they’re missing the sort of immediacy that a single would have needed to grab a program director’s attention. It’s quite possible that some programmers at R&B radio heard Since Before Our Time and said, “Interesting album, but where’s the single?” Not surprisingly, Warner Bros. dropped Osiris, and it didn’t take long for this LP to go out of print and end up in the cutout bins.