Saturday, 1 June 2019

Graham Central Station - Release Yourself (1974)


  

Released in 1974

This was probably Graham Central Station's best album, after a slightly patchy debt the previous year, bassist Larry Graham of Sly & The Family Stone fame and his group got their act together and produced an album of mature, enjoyable funk and soul.

TRACK LISTING

1. G.C.S
2. Release Yourself
3. Got To Go Through It To Get To It
4. I Believe In You
5. 'Tis Your Kind Of Music
6.  Hey Mr. Writer
7.  Feel The Need
8. Today                                                            

"G.C.S." is a rumbling, funker dominated by swirling keyboard riffs and the band introducing themselves and a catchy chorus refrain, sung as "Gram Central Station". "Release Yourself" is a frantic, upbeat piece of vital funk, with all the band taking different lines on vocals. The clavinet backing is incredibly fast, matching the breathless brass and drum rhythm. "Got To Go Through It To Get To It" is a jaunty, effervescent piece of brassy, staccato funk. It is very Sly & The Family Stone influenced.

"I Believe In You" has a sumptuous slap-bass line driving forward its slow burning funk/soul rhythm and some excellent brass, clavinet and drums interplay in the middle. "'Tis Your Kind Of Music" is a spacey, vaguely futuristic funky workout, with ethereal female vocals arriving half way through. A soulful male vocal from Graham joins in later, trading off against Patryce "Choc-let" Banks. It is almost psychedelic funk, if there is such a thing.

"Hey. Mr. Writer" is another upbeat funky number with some fantastic guitar soloing. "Feel The Need" is a funked-up cover of the 1972 Detroit Emeralds hit. "Today" is a jazzy, improvisational organ-driven number with a lengthy instrumental introduction before some choral, uplifting vocals arrive. The kitchen sink gets thrown in half way through, led by some searing rock guitar.

On reflection, this is my favourite of the first three Graham Central Station albums. They released many more but it is these first three which were the really potent ones.

B

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