The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson 1972

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The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson frontJackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label.   That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint.  Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘), to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’).   Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns.  Unfortunately, the absence of a singer clearly limited their audience.  Still, it’s one of the better releases on the Invictus/Hot Wax roster.

Tracks
A1 Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic 3:48
A2 The World We Live in 4:21
A3 Church 3:15
A4 Free Your Mind 2:50
A5 Everything Good Is Bad 4:14
B1 A Song for You 4:34
B2 Speak on It 5:40
B3 Funky Toes 4:04
B4 Politicians Theme 2:59
B5 Close Your Big Mouth 3:07

The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson back

Review by Soulmakossa

Trombonist McKinley Jackson joined Motown-defectors Lamont Dozier and the Holland brothers in 1970. He became the frontman leading the houseband that would pump out backing tracks for the newly formed Invictus/Hot Wax label. The Politicians, as the band was titled, recorded all over the place behind a host of artists, and released just one album sporting their own name. But what a record they made.

In sync with Norman Whitfield’s iconoclasm over at Motown, “Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic” is a chaotic mixture of fuzzed and distorted rock sounds and jungle funk. “The World We Live In” keeps up the trippy vibe: a fatback groover spotlighting Zachary Slater’s in-the-pocket drumming. Neat effects include a whiney synth-like siren and what sound like the lashes of an electrifide whip.

“Church” is somewhat more sane, still riding a chugging, deep groove, but the xylophone adds a bit of sweetness not heard elsewhere here.

The best track (and the sole hit for the group), “Free Your Mind” stands out for its indescribably catchy guitar leit motif, a wah-wah’d lick that may well be the funkiest ever waxed. Labelmates 8th Day used the backing track for their B-side “Freedom Is Instrumental”.

Likewise, another Invictus group, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, took the music of the intensely funky instrumental “Everything Good Is Bad” to the #15 R&B spot by adding a set of mildly political lyrics.

The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson label 1The odd one out in this heavy barrage of funk is the mellow jazz dirge “A Song for You“. Really a bit out of place, but so melodic and soothing it’s a nice ‘intermezzo’.

Speak On It” picks up the groove again, driving an incessant, thick rhythm that keeps building up until it reaches the horn-filled climax. Features some strings, but tastefully.

Bluesy guitar kicks off “Funky Toes“, which is drenched in both the oozing, liquid notes from the clavinet as well as back-to-the-roots barrelhouse boogie piano.

The “Politicians Theme” comes off a bit tame compared to the other selections here, but all is redeemed with the incredible closing number “Close Your Big Mouth“: a greasy strutter featuring some of the zaniest, hardest, funkiest trumpet riffs on the outro that I have ever heard.

Essential instru-funk, here.

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22 Comments
  • Grumpy
    Posted at 11:06h, 22 October 2014 Reply

    Thank you!

  • Vincent the Soul Chef
    Posted at 13:02h, 22 October 2014 Reply

    Thanks for the tip my friend… Top share indeed! 😀

  • Kevin
    Posted at 21:19h, 22 October 2014 Reply

    Superb. Thank you.

  • Beathead
    Posted at 07:31h, 23 October 2014 Reply

    I’ve been on this site for a while but I realized I should comment more. Thank you for all the great music!

  • Fernando
    Posted at 08:55h, 23 October 2014 Reply

    Fabulous post, bro! :¬)

  • Janis
    Posted at 20:18h, 23 October 2014 Reply

    Awesome record & awesome post. Thanks as always for your generosity.

  • Name
    Posted at 00:18h, 24 October 2014 Reply

    Many thanks, great stuff as usual.

  • Fred
    Posted at 09:20h, 24 October 2014 Reply

    Thanks, greatly appreciated!

  • Lukas
    Posted at 18:24h, 24 October 2014 Reply

    What a pleasure to discover a great album, I never heard about before Nikos…

  • Andre
    Posted at 20:30h, 25 October 2014 Reply

    thanks so much for giving us those gems my man. much appreciated

  • Meli
    Posted at 22:34h, 25 October 2014 Reply

    Essential listening.

  • Edgar
    Posted at 13:07h, 26 October 2014 Reply

    This stuff is some of the best from the 70’s

  • Boris
    Posted at 20:37h, 26 October 2014 Reply

    So gooooooood!!!!!!

  • Douglas
    Posted at 23:23h, 26 October 2014 Reply

    Quality posting as always. What a gem!!

  • HD
    Posted at 10:08h, 27 October 2014 Reply

    What a joy!!!!!!! I just wanted to say I appreciate the music you have uploaded. You obviously have a good ear and taste for music.

  • Giorgio
    Posted at 20:57h, 27 October 2014 Reply

    Much Appreciated! For this and all the brilliant posts you share with us!

  • Maurice
    Posted at 10:02h, 29 October 2014 Reply

    new to me
    can’t wait to check it

  • Nick
    Posted at 23:44h, 30 October 2014 Reply

    wow, so nice.

  • Dante
    Posted at 11:28h, 09 January 2015 Reply

    F.Y.I. Mckinley Jackson is the father of Big Proof from D-12
    R.I.P. Proof

  • Topaz Bon
    Posted at 02:57h, 21 October 2015 Reply

    Free your mind has long been on of my fav funkiest tunes, and to think that the guys that wrote this also wrote “Baby Love” by the Supremes, amazing!! Way to go HDH. Actually, the original 45 cut has no vocals on it, as opposed to the album track, which has Lamont Dozier singing some back ground vocals. Thanks for this wonderful post!

  • rich
    Posted at 20:21h, 21 March 2016 Reply

    great album nikos

  • BIG WILL
    Posted at 17:03h, 18 August 2017 Reply

    Thanx a Million for this Gem. I’ve been searching for YEARS about 35 for the song “Free Your Mind” I had this on 45″ when I was a young man about 19 years old and here it is on LP wow!
    Keep up the great work you do here…much appreciated.

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