Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Magnum “Fully Loaded” 1974 US Soul Jazz Funk (Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums Groove Collector)

Magnum “Fully Loaded” 1974 US Soul Jazz Funk - (Best 100 -70’s Soul Funk Albums Groove Collector)
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Absolutely killer rare and sought after funk/soul record featuring the all-time classic "Evolution"....~


The songwriting and innovation barometer may not be as high on this LP as it is on early-‘70s discs by Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Miles Davis, and Santana – all of whom Magnum bear slight to strong resemblance to, at one point or another. Yet it’s a pretty solid effort, and a reminder of a brief time when black music effectively synthesized R&B with numerous progressive trends while remaining both optimistic and street-smart. The collision of influences makes itself known right from the opening “Evolution,” with its celebratory/revolutionary lyrics, solid funk groove, James Brown-like horns, bongos, distorted hard rock guitar riffs, and intricate sailing background harmonies. The dragging beats and druggy ambience of “Your Mind” should recall Sly Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On period to many listeners. The wacky hallucinogenic sex sentiments of “Natural Juices” wouldn’t sound too out of place in George Clinton’s world, with its spaced-out narration: “some people get off on a needle…then there is a thumb and blanket. But the ultimate pacifier is a warm, wet nipple.” “Witch Doctor’s Brew” and the more impressive, ten-minute “Composition Seven,” by contrast, make much use of Miles Davis-ish jazz-rock fusion keyboards in their groove-oriented, jammy passages, the latter tune boosted by an irresistible Latin beat. The album was entirely overlooked in comparison to the more famous artists mining the same grooves, both when it was made and when such sounds have come back into fashion. And it absolutely demands a hearing by anyone who digs these sorts of combinations, even if the group were not as original as the giants of the genre…by allmusic…


The group’s got a nice warm sound, with lots of Fender Rhodes and mellow basslines – and they move between sweet ballad soul and sinister funky instrumentals! Best of all, though, they’ve got a great organ player who keeps putting in these nicely produced licks that get all flanged-out in a very groovy way. The whole album’s the kind of lost funky classic we’d love to find on wax – but you’ll have to settle for this CD reissue, because we almost never see the vinyl! …~


For fans of groups like Rasputin Stash, Funk. Inc., Black Heat, Mandrill and whatnot, this album is right up your alley. A sampling DJ’s best wet dream, the album features horn driven ’70s black rock, wet bottom heavy basslines and a tight rhythm section. A popular music review web site that I respect very highly, remarked that they were a very good group but not quite up to par with other funk ventures of the time (like Earth Wind and Fire and Sly Stone). 

I disagree… In all fairness, I think when you listen to many of those legendary bands, you have to realize that as great as they are, your ears have been biased by years and years of hearing the music over and over again and the memories that comes with it (plus once a group has one mega hit… trust me, they get to record in better studies and get much better pre and post production.) In all honesty, a few weeks ago I heard Magnum for the first time and I have to say while their music didn’t have the advantage of “bringing back warm memories”, I liked the music enough to have been listening to it over and over again… so I’m sure in time this album will fall into that category… this album offers variety of a Jazzed out Frank Zappa meets Miles Davis soul Jam, to the sheer rockin’ funkiness of It’s The Music That Makes You Do It and fingerpopping blaxploitation groove of Funky Junky.. there are also plenty of production surprizes and kicks thrown in to make this album a rare treat and great listen straight through. 

Yes, maybe I wouldn’t trade all the Tower of Power albums in my collection to get my hands on this if I had to, but trust me… this is must have for any serious ’70s “free soul” fanatic !……~ 


 The early '70s saw the brief flowering of a movement whereby soul, funk, rock, psychedelia, and even some jazz and Latin music combined into a new subgenre. That subgenre has never really been named, but you can hear these admixtures in the music of the period by Sly & the Family Stone and Funkadelic, and to a lesser extent in records by Miles Davis, James Brown, War, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and others. These sounds have always been well-respected, but many have been curious as to whether there were many second-tier, obscure recordings by unknown musicians following similar paths. 

That question will be hard to answer until reissue labels conduct exhaustive searches. But certainly Magnum counts as a band that fits squarely in the category of obscure groups bearing traces of all the influences mentioned in the above paragraph. Little is known about them, other than that they were from California and did only original compositions on their 1974 album Fully Loaded. They weren't as good as Funkadelic or Sly Stone, but they were pretty good, mixing up a sort of late-psychedelic soul-rock in their elongated, oft-humorous compositions. Crucially, they also varied their approach over the course of the LP, with long groove jams that borrowed from Latin jazz fusion, goofy sex wordplay, celebratory party funk, and some doses of cosmic consciousness. Reissued on CD in 2000, any fan of the acts that this bio compares them to should find Magnum worth hearing, should they be hungry for more of the same after having exhausting the discographies of the well-known exponents of the genre. ~ Richie Unterberger...~


8 members strong Magnum brings Mandrill to mind due to the wonderful mix of Latin and Jazz flavours in their Funk. Unfortunately they only recorded 1 album - and a real winner it is! Most people have probably been exposed to the track "Evolution" through various compilations over the years. But the stand outs for me have always been the mellow grooves of "Natural Juices", "Witch Doctor's Brew" and "Composition Seven". A big money saver will be to pick up a re-issue, but if you want the real deal be prepared to make an investment!...~


The funk is a galaxy made up of stagnant and present stars, but also of shooting stars that cross the universe without stopping. This is the case with the group Magnum who engraves this single album published in 1974. A disc pulled to few copies and extremely sought after (do not expect to find a copy, even in average condition, less than 300 dollars) . 
Originally from San Pedro, California, and difficult to obtain accurate information on this formation composed of 8 members coming from the jazz school. On the sleeve, we learn that the leader named Michael Greene (keyboards) is 16 years old, which suggests that the average age is between 16 and 21 years. All with an incredible musical maturity that is felt in the 7 tracks, their sound is a joyful mix of Latin jazz, psychedelic soul, rock all tied together in a funk box of the highest order. 
The first part starts with the thunderous "Evolution" drumming with a copper section at the top, "Your Mind" starts in mellow groove mode before the arrival of the rhythm section, a real atomic groove center composed of David "Bra Ping" Sutton (drums) and Harold Greene (bass). Then come the very sexual "Natural Juices" sung by Kevin Thorton (guitar) in a guttural voice and "It's The Music" ... at the perfect drum break for break dancers and sublimated by a tampered sax solo. 
The sequel is less exciting with 2 instrumental compositions with little interest in my eyes, but "Funky Junky" catches up with his flipped jazz guitar interventions, even a bit edgy but still excellent. 
All in all, a very endearing album, made popular through compilations "Pulp Fusion" which includes among others "Evolution". Fans of Mandrill, Kool & The Gang (1st era), Funk Inc or Tower Of Power, buy this reissued record vinyl and Cd (remastered by the great Tom Moulton) eyes closed....~


Bass, Backing Vocals – Harold Greene 
Composed By, Piano, Organ, Percussion, Vocals – Michael Greene 
Congas, Bongos, Backing Vocals – George Chaney 
Drums, Backing Vocals – David Sutton 
Producer – Calvin Wade 
Producer [Cd Production] – Tom Moulton 
Rhythm Guitar, Lead Guitar, Vocals, Arranged By – Kevin Thornton 
Saxophone [Tenor, Alto], Percussion [Electrified], Backing Vocals – Thurron Mallory 
Trombone, Organ, Piano, Percussion, Vocals – Vance Wormley 
Trumpet, Percussion, Backing Vocals – Lamont Payne 
Written-By – M. Greene (tracks: 1, 2, 3 to 7)





Tracks: 

01 Evolution 5:39 
02 Your Mind 3:48 
03 Natural Juices 6:36 
04 It’s The Music That Makes Us Do It 3:49 
05 Witch Doctor’s Brew 7:25 
06 Funky Junky 5:02 
07 Composition Seven 9:32 

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