Saturday, 1 June 2019

Graham Central Station - Ain't No 'Bout Doubt It (1975)


Released in 1975

This was bassist Larry Graham's third album after leaving Sly & The Family Stone acrimoniously. It serves up more of the same fare that his first two albums had - copper-bottomed, solid seventies funk. It would be a big influence on the whole Parliament/Funkadelic style of extended, guitar-driven funk. It is a pretty classic example of pure funk from the era.


1. The Jam
2. Your Love
3. It's Alright
4. I Can't Stand The Rain
5. It Ain't Nothin' But A Warner Bros. Party
6. Ole Smokey
7. Easy Rider
8. Water
9. Luckiest People                            

"The Jam" is a lengthy jam (would you believe) which has various group members soloing - organ, "funk box", drums and bass, where Graham introduces himself before going into a buzzy bass solo. If you want eight minutes of genuine seventies funk, stick this on. "Your Love" is a delicious slice of breezy, light but brassy soul that comes as a bit of a surprise after the deep funk of its predecessor. It features a superb female vocal from Patryce "Choc-Let" Banks (who was also the funk box player). "It's Alright" is a return to cookin' funk once more. It has a great bass and percussion interplay in the middle, enhanced later by organ and wah-wah guitar.

The cover of Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand The Rain" is a bit drawn-out in places, but otherwise is a solid interpretation. "It Ain't Nothin' But A Warner Bros. Party" is a wonderful, lively funky party of a song (unsurprisingly). Presumably it is a tribute to their record label as opposed to a rant against it. "Old Smokey" is a piano-driven slowed-down bar-room version of the old folk song, with a bit of jazzy New Orleans brass enhancing it.

"Easy Rider" is a fast-pace bassy boogie of a number, far more rock than funk. The deep funk is back though on "Water", with its massive slap-bass sound and fatback drums. "Luckiest People" suddenly finds the group going all Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, with a bit of soul balladry. The vocal on this one isn't great and it sits a bit incongruously with the rest of the album.

Personally, I much prefer this GCS album to their first one, however. The music is far more credible, with less silly interludes. The group's second album is probably their best, in retrospect. This is still a good album of its genre. Terrible cover, though.


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