Maze fet Frankie Beverly – 1980 – Joy and Pain

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Rip, posting & additional info’s by Nikos

Frankie Beverly and Maze’s fourth album, JOY & PAIN, was their most fully realized recording to date, with Beverly really coming into his own as a producer. While the more extensive production of third album INSPIRATION served mainly to enhance the ballads, here there’s a richer, more fleshed-out feel to every element of the Maze sound. The opening cut, “Changing Times“, is full of visceral jazz-meets-funk textures that would have made famed arranger David Axelrod envious. The instrumental “Roots” is full of churning riffs, interlocking guitars, bubbling keyboards, and flailing percussion. Throughout the album, the use of synthesizer as a lead instrument, instead of merely orchestral padding, is a notable advance. The much-sampled title cut is a tour de force that utilizes a combination of percussion and drum machine to hypnotic effect, while jazzy, dreamy guitars and keyboards float across the top. The balladic feel of INSPIRATION isn’t absent on JOY & PAIN, but like everything else, its more fully integrated than ever before.

Tracks
A1
Changing Times  6:37
A2
The Look in Your Eyes 5:19
A3
Family 5:11
A4
Roots 5:08
B1
Joy and Pain 7:14
B2
Southern Girl 6:54
B3
Happiness 6:46

Beverly, who was born in Philadelphia in 1946, started out musically in his hometown with a band named the Butlers.  The Butlers became Raw Soul and it was this band that, in the early seventies, switched its base to San Francisco and reformed as Maze.

Maze, who have been described as perhaps the ultimate urban contemporary group, were definitely fan favourites who received little critical acclaim, notice or adulation except from soul and R & B writers.  From 1977 to 1989 they recorded for that unsung goldmine of soul music, Capitol, before moving on to the new pastures of Warner Brothers.

It was in 1980, during their Capitol hey day, that Maze recorded Joy and Pain‘, including it on the album of the same name.  From day one it became a modern day classic with an enduring cult interest from serious soul fans, an interest that has been confirmed over and over by the number of quality covers it has attracted.

Hands down this is a brilliant album! In the immediate post disco era Frankie Beverly & Maze had been swinging the musical tide in the opposite direction for five years before this album was released in 1980. The opening cut “Changing Times” swirls around with a light guitar solo, then goes into blasts of bass before going full throttle into soulful funkiness, matched only to a plaintive guitar and Beverly’s gurgling, soulful voice.

Then there is the title cut and I only have one word to say about that-ALL TIME SOUL AND POP CLASSIC! It’s up there with the finest of Stevie,Marvin,Isaac,The O’jays and EWF but sadly is little known outside the R&B community!” Southern Girl” is a fine funk romp but throughout ‘Joy And Pain‘ tempo’s are always changing, the music always evolving and the organ/vocal/ guitar interplay has a rather folksy approach to soul that few of the period’s urban contemporary artists could replicate. Not that Maze with their hard driving sound were ever an urban band at all. And that’s what gives this album it’s charm-it’s unlike anything else in R&B at that point and hasn’t aged one day! The entire neo soul movement of today stems directly from albums like this one so fans of ‘Innervisions‘, ‘What’s Going On‘, ‘Hot Buttered Soul‘ or even ‘A Quiet Storm‘ should go right out and purchase ‘Joy And Pain’-

It’s a definitive soul classic and will transport you to another musical world!

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24 Comments
  • rich
    Posted at 20:52h, 24 April 2012

    great post nikos

  • Du-ality
    Posted at 05:02h, 25 April 2012

    One of my favorite songs from this amazing group. I recently made an edit of it: http://soundcloud.com/du-ality/mazing-du-ality-edit

    Enjoy!

  • Grumpy
    Posted at 16:38h, 25 April 2012

    Thanks Nikos …

  • zobba
    Posted at 17:03h, 25 April 2012

    thanks

  • Jake
    Posted at 08:32h, 26 April 2012

    funky sound in my right ear.

  • Nicholas
    Posted at 08:35h, 26 April 2012

    MAZE is AMAZING!!!!!!!! loved them since the first time I heard them, my absolute favorites are Look at California, While I am Alone, I Can’t get Over You and When You Love Someone oh why don’t I just admit I Love all their stuff I have everything they ever sang.

  • Leonidas
    Posted at 18:37h, 26 April 2012

    Absolutely beautiful. One of the greatest bands of all time regardless of whether they won awards or not, their music speaks loud and clear.

  • Dreamer456
    Posted at 01:43h, 27 April 2012

    Thanks so much.

  • Lenny
    Posted at 10:16h, 27 April 2012

    GOD Bless you thanks for this.

  • Jacob
    Posted at 20:55h, 27 April 2012

    This brings back great memories.

  • Hector
    Posted at 14:24h, 28 April 2012

    The sweet sound of Frankie Beverly.

  • Graham
    Posted at 11:39h, 29 April 2012

    Another excellent post. Thank you.

  • Tina
    Posted at 12:58h, 29 April 2012

    excellent sound. Love it.

  • Zion
    Posted at 13:14h, 02 May 2012

    Great to have you back..

  • Matt
    Posted at 17:51h, 02 May 2012

    God Blesses the world with groups that will always put a smile on your face…a dance in your soul…Maze is one of them…Frankiie Beverly you are truly loved..

  • Scott
    Posted at 22:28h, 02 May 2012

    Great stuff as always. Thank you!

  • Rubber
    Posted at 23:04h, 02 May 2012

    Maze and Franky Berverly are the real deal!!!! Great stuff !! Funk is real!
    KEEP THE FUNK ALIVE!!!!

  • M.S.
    Posted at 11:00h, 03 May 2012

    i saw maze in brooklyn new york last year, can’t get enough of them. i love this group.

  • Gareth
    Posted at 19:25h, 03 May 2012

    Excellent! Thanks.

  • Madflower
    Posted at 22:00h, 03 May 2012

    jammin, simply put, jammin!!!!!!

  • K.P.S.
    Posted at 20:43h, 05 May 2012

    These songs remind me of the good times of my childhood when I use to imitate frankie beverly during my sisters card parties. Love you Frankie.

  • Ben
    Posted at 10:49h, 06 May 2012

    maaaan this is one my favorite bands hands down EVER!!!!!! Genius maan genius!!

  • Lopez
    Posted at 17:54h, 18 May 2012

    This is an amazing group man.

  • Felix
    Posted at 12:25h, 05 June 2012

    yessir… nothing like this kind of music… i love it