Album Review By Super J
[originally published at WFNK.com on 08/01/2000]
Slave’s debut album came in 1977. With 9 members, the album promised to give us power funk and it doesn’t disappoint.
The sound of the album reminds me of Mercury-era Ohio Players with a slightly higher energy level. Only the tune “The Happiest Days” qualifies as a ballad. The other tunes are barn-burning party stomping jams.
With two guitarists and 4 horn players and C.B. who is credited with “all things off the wall” the sound is pretty full.
The tunes “Slide”, “Son of Slide”, and “You and Me” stand out on the record. They have the rich instrumentation featured in the more hyperactive jams, but are ever so slightly mellower and feature thick dark basslines with well-arranged rhythmic horn lines reminiscent of JB style riffs (especially in “You and Me”). However, the drumming is much more late-70s stomping-style than the sophisto-funk style of the JBs. The thick heavy pulsing drum sound was more popular in the late 70s, and most funk bands from the time employed it.
There is some subtle keyboard work providing a “vibes” atmosphere in the background of “You and Me”, which was also used by the Ohio Players but in a different way.
“Screw Your Wig on Tite” and “Party Hardy” seemed a little over-the-top at first, but on repeated listening sophisticated grooves are revealed. Make no mistake – these are not subtle tracks, they tear the roof off without a doubt. But there is quality musicianship underneath the powerful rhythmic front.
I expected “Love Me” to be a ballad (because of the title), but it is actually a slap-bass workout with Ohio Player style horn-lines that is probably too powerful for today’s dance floors. It’s definitely a must-listen for the bass enthusiast. There isn’t any bass solos, but the rhythmic track is very nice.
Interestingly, Slave is one of those bands who can totally change one’s perspective by listening to an album. They bring the hard Dayton-funk sound from the beginning. Listening to a good Slave album like this one from beginning to end can truly change one’s perspective.
Here’s to one of the dinosaur funk pioneers. 4 out of 5 stars for an outstanding and shameless power funk album.