Bar-Kays – 1977 – Flying High On Your Love
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Intro biographyby Cherry Red Records Review by AMG
Rip, research, posting and additional info’s by Nikos
Stax’s top artist, Otis Redding chose the band to be his regular road musicians a decision that ended in tragedy on December 10th 1967 when Redding, King, Caldwell, Jones and Cunningham all perished when their private plane crashed. Only Ben Cauley survived and James Alexander had not boarded the flight.
Despite this tragedy Cauley and Alexander with Allen Jones helped reformed the group which culminated in their work with Isaac Hayes on the pioneering 1969 album, “Hot Buttered Soul”.
In 1971 the group hired their first lead vocalist Larry Dodson and his unique vocals and James Alexander’s cranked to the max bass really was the new Bar-Kays, with no other pretensions than aiming straight for the dance floor with a series of funk workouts that set the template for many of the groups that followed during the late 70s.
If there was a sub-genre of funk called Southern Funk The Bar-Kays were the leaders and were one of the hottest acts around “Too Hot Too Stop” was perhaps their finest hour and the following years “Flying High On Your Love” confirmed their stature.
A1 Shut the Funk Up 4:20
A2 Standing on the Outside 4:18
A3 Woman of the Night 3:50
A4 Whatever It Is 2:10
A5 Can’t Keep My Hands Off You 3:20
B1 Let’s Have Some Fun 6:05
B2 Attitudes 2:01
B3 You Can’t Run Away 4:50
B4 Flying High on Your Love 3:50
The Age of Aquarius may have fallen out of fashion, but “what’s your sign” was still the ultimate pickup line at the end of the 1970s. Disco novelty band the Floaters had counted on that with their brash mid-1977 “Float On,” and the Bar-Kays, of course, couldn’t resist a little good-humored stroke, especially if it carried commercial punch as well. So, for the November release of their second Mercury LP, Flying High on Your Love, the inner sleeve featured the band’s photos — complete with star signs. Jokes aside, the Bar-Kays delivered a juicy set of funk movers accented by disco beats and augmented by ballads. It was a tremendous mix. “Shut the Funk Up” is an overlooked gem, lost as the band sublimated their sound in the 1980s. A near-perfect disco song punctuated by the funky horn triumvirate of Charles “Scoop” Allen, Harvey “Joe” Henderson, and Frank “Captain Disaster” Thompson and dominated by vocalist Larry “D” Dodson‘s call to “get on up or just shut the funk up,” it’s immediately apparent that disco never sounded so good — or so funky. “Woman of the Night” and “Let’s Have Some Fun” follow suit, while stomping the disco beat down with some pretty heavy funk riffing. But, of course, that’s why the Bar-Kays were, and remained, so successful. They were fully committed to their funk forbears while never taking their eyes off the shifting musical climate. Thus, they were able to make the leap from funk to disco in a way that almost no other bands could match. the Bar-Kays‘ late-’70s sounds, then, were not one or the other, but a seamless blend of both.
A fine mix and a glorious achievement.
Biography and discography on Wikipedia