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14 Sep 2016

Magnum “Fully Loaded” 1974 US Soul Funk












Magnum  “Fully Loaded” 1974 US Soul Funk
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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 !…… 

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 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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