Maxayn – 1972 – Maxayn

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It is extremely rare to find this masterpiece, especially with the lp’s covers. So get it at once. You won’t find it anywhere!

Maxayn (featuring Maxayn Lewis) . This was w-a-a-a-a-a-y ahead of its time, even in 1972 the year of its release. How to describe Maxayn: Hmmm… Think Sly and the Family, merged into Patti Labelle, with a touch of Chaka Khan and you’d have a slight clue. This funky heady spiritual, mean rocking stuff.

Tracks
a1. Trying For Days 3:32
a2. Song 3:52
a3. You Can’t Always Get What You Want 5:32
a4. Jam For Jack 4:32
b1. Gimme Shelter 4:00
b2. Let Me Be Your Friend 4:50
b3. Doing Nothing, Nothing Doing 6:24
b4. Beloved 4:28

The songs each and every one of them are so well written, so soulfully sung, so electronically advanced, so very different and so what if no one ever heard it! Some albums are like hidden treasures. Those of us who own them, selfishly keep them to ourselves. When we’re alone, we pull turn to them like secret friends the oddly special kind that only we can possibly love, understand, or appreciate their rare and wonderful beauty.
I’ll keep my Maxayn and all the deliciousness she and her band have to offer to my damn self. Just know it is one of my all time favorite orphans.

Selected Discography:

Maxayn by Maxayn, Capricorn, 1972
Mindful by Maxayn, Capricorn, 1973
Bail Out for Fun by Maxayn, Capricorn, 1974

Mandre by Mandre, Motown, 1977


Maxayn is a group. Maxayn Lewis was a member of that group. I want to make clear that Ms. Maxayn Lewis was just one part of a strong collective including Andre Lewis  aka Mandre,  Emilio Thomas, and fellow super-session musician Marlo Henderson (later, Hank Redd). But, as you see, the band was named after her, featured her as a leader, and plastered her face on all album covers. So any confusion between whether Maxayn was a group or a solo act is completely warranted.Maxayn (the band) was a brilliant showcase for the songs and voice of this sister, who also doubled as a talented pianist and French horn player. The group did not have much commercial success, though their music is respected by fans of rare groove and is remembered fondly by those who had hip musical tastes in the early 70s. Their music was part funk, part gospel, part Roberta Flack-ish introspective soothers. And Maxayn’s voice played the part at all times, whether it was to belt out the grittier soulful tunes with toughness or use a more subdued, relaxed style for the slower numbers.

Their/her music reminds me of what Lauryn Hill does today with her work. By combining spiritual grooves, an assertive attitude, updated urban sounds, and plenty ‘o soul and funk, whatever Maxayn and her comrades did worked, and we’ve got 3 (out-of-print) albums to show for it. However, when the Maxayn band called it quits in 1974, the group did not die. Rather, it morphed into one of the strangest projects that the Motown label has ever recorded. This new group, born in 1977, was called Mandre and kept the core of the Maxayn group intact. This time the concept was futuristic space funk/disco complete with tons of synthesizers and blipping electronics. Maxayn’s hubby Andre was at the helm, and album covers featured illustrations of his face covered by a mask, apparently (according to an insider) because Motown thought Andre was too ugly to show a picture of. Ms. Lewis was no longer singing lead in this group, but doing backup vocals, as well as songwriting and playing. And the Motown promotions machine tried to hype Mandre as being “funkier than Parliament.” No one else seemed to think so, and after three albums, Mandre finally funked itself out in 1979.
By the early 1980s, Maxayn (the woman) was singing on albums by the Gap Band. Today, I have no idea what she is doing. But I hope she is still around somewhere to enjoy the respect that she has earned in the burgeoning rare groove collectors’ community.

You can also get Mandre debut album in our back pages here

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Conversation for album: Maxayn – 1972 – Maxayn

19 Comments
  • DJ Abe
    Posted at 12:41h, 10 May 2008 Reply

    Thank you…..

  • Doctor Okeh
    Posted at 06:03h, 14 June 2008 Reply

    gonna be checkin this out too Nikos , you have a massive collection here , I’m so happy to find many of the albums youre sharing, thx again , cannot wait to hear this yet another unknown….

  • ikiro
    Posted at 21:56h, 29 July 2008 Reply

    Tnx for this. Stumped upon Mandre at A Monsieur Willy World and really like this too. Props to your massive blog, I’ll be browsing this for a while now.

  • SoulTooSoul
    Posted at 04:36h, 22 August 2008 Reply

    You can find Maxayn on Satisfaction: Covers&Cookies of the Stones. Maxayn was ahead of their time.

  • MsMerising
    Posted at 04:34h, 03 September 2008 Reply

    This album has some stellar moments. “Tryin’ For Days” is classic in underground circles. But for me, when Maxayn let’s loose on “Let Me Be Your Friend” & “Beloved” is when I am most moved. Thanks for your wickid taste in Fierce Funkin’ Divas, Nikos!

    Muah!

    M
    x

  • Idris
    Posted at 05:31h, 19 November 2008 Reply

    Thank you so much for this. I just heard ‘Let Me Be Your Friend’ and I had to hear her whole album!!! Didnt Ms Badu use that song on ‘Orange Moon’ from the ‘Mama’s Gun’ album?

  • Brain Damage
    Posted at 00:37h, 23 November 2008 Reply

    Excellent!

    I had never heard of Maxayn before, and it’s a very good surprise. The Stones covers work very well in a funk context and the originals are just as good.

    Thanks a lot.

  • Radek
    Posted at 17:34h, 01 January 2009 Reply

    Marvellous stuff, Nikos! I fully agree with your description of the record. One of the best soul albums I have ever heard. Thank you very much.

  • alfonso
    Posted at 00:15h, 22 May 2009 Reply

    Now THIS IS GREAT!!! REAL SOUL/FUNK from one of the best band ever.Thanks for sharing and suppoting this music!

  • Chris
    Posted at 22:58h, 27 June 2009 Reply

    Thanks for this post. I’ve got one of their albums on vinyl, but not this one!!! Thanks again and great job. GOD BLESS

  • Curtis
    Posted at 11:41h, 23 July 2009 Reply

    Yes she was way ahead of her time and I am looking for more of the pre-mandre era music.

  • brotherpete
    Posted at 16:00h, 29 September 2009 Reply

    thanks a lot, really great!!!

  • Phoenix
    Posted at 23:10h, 30 January 2010 Reply

    I have thia album from the 70’s
    which i would like to find on CD

    or even a copy of the song Let me be your friend

  • talivah
    Posted at 17:29h, 21 July 2010 Reply

    do anyone know how I can get a hold of Maxayn music? i’ve serch everywhere. Is there a site where it can be downloaded to cd?

  • Christian
    Posted at 20:16h, 12 August 2010 Reply

    There are a few things that I say to myself before downloading an album from your blog.. 1. Who the hell is “(insert band/artist I’ve never heard before)” 2. You say you this is extremely rare and cannot be found anywhere 3. I read what you and your collaborators say about it…Which brings us to 1972 Maxayn which met all my critera…What? Who? “hidden treasure”, “ahead of it’s time” or ” w-a-a-a-a-a-y ahead of its time” and finally the best line “I’ll keep my Maxayn and all the deliciousness she and her band have to offer to my damn self”. I had to hear it and all I can say is I agree, with all of it.. I was born in 1975 and grew up with an affinity for R&B and soul that I am not sure where it came from. OUr long family trips were filled with either the Beach Boys which I do like or listening to my father’s Air Supply Greatest Hits tape..the funkiest it got was listening to Celebration by Kool & the Gang.. I knew there was more…and then I find out there are albums like this…Better late than never..
    Rambling…
    This album delivers..from start to finish..period.. I listened to it 3 times in a row. I found it to be one of the records where I end up just closing my eyes and listening.
    I do get stuck on Let Me Be Your Friend. Maybe I am just searching for words, words that only soul music can give you..words that you wanted to say, words that you wish you said and words that you know you should have said…Yes Man Soul Music rooted in love..
    Oh Hell, I’m just gonna put it on again…
    Again Thank you…Amazing…..

  • Danny Boy
    Posted at 15:37h, 19 January 2012 Reply

    Thx for this one! Great!
    Cymande could fit around here.
    Cheers

  • Rodney Foster
    Posted at 20:38h, 08 January 2014 Reply

    I met you in North Hollywood at your apartment with Tommy Thomas in 1981 I was the guy with the four track machine and had wornell jones played bass Guitar I’ve been trying to contact Tommy Thomas

  • famousbass
    Posted at 13:46h, 24 September 2015 Reply

    Maxayn Lewis is still singing great and doing gigs.
    From what I could find, the genius, her ex-husband Andre Lewis, after Madre, was with Johnny Guitar Watson for a while and then joined and recorded with Zappa but eventually left the music industry altogether.
    He was running christian church choirs but has since, unfortunately, passed away.
    There is a lost album of his from 1984, Mandre 4, of which a few vinyl LPs exist. One copy has been transferred digitally and is available to buy as a CD.
    Regards

  • Yvonne Fair ‎– The Bitch Is Black (1975) | The Soul and Funk Historical
    Posted at 11:26h, 08 February 2016 Reply

    […] really hard-wailing sort of style – one that had the righteous vocal lead of singers like Davis, Maxayn, or a rare few others – and which gets support here from some really full, rich production from […]

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