Monday, April 18, 2016

Mandrill - 1977 - We Are One

We Are One

01. Can You Get It (Suzie Caesar)
02. Funky Monkey
03. Happy Beat
04. Gilly Hines (In Memory Of Natalie Cerame)
05. Holiday
06. Closer Yo You
07. Love One Another
08. Don't Stop
09. Mean Streets
10. Third World Girl
11. It's So Easy Lovin' You
12. Stay Tonite

- Carlos Wilson / trombone, vocals
- Lou Wilson / trumpet, vocals
- Ric Wilson /sax, vocals
- Dougie Rodriguez / guitar
- Claude Coffee Cave / keyboards
- Fudgie Kae Solomon / bass
- Neftali Santiago / drums

The progressively based, Panamanian born, Brothers' Wilson of the band 'MANDRILL', literally re-wrote the boundries of the Latin Jazz Fusion Movment back in the early 70's. A closer listen to the group's music, starting from their spectacular debut in 1970, showed an incredible deep rich history that undoubtedly transcended all category definitions! Unfortunately, many of that era's aspiring and definitive performers had reluctantly thrown in the towel, due to the insurmountable pressures placed on them to stay on top of things and succeed, NO matter the costs involved! As for the members of Mandrill? They are most definetly an exception to the rule! The sheer determination of brothers - Ric Lou Carlos

and Wolf, by far and wide, have ALWAYS asserted a strong inclination toward instinct and wisdom, seeking the best from any challenging roads or unexpected situations enountered!

At one point in their career - the mid 70's - it was suggested numerous times to use a a hypnotic, pulsating 'disco beat'for their music. They were told "to get with the times, you got to go with what's selling, if you want to make any REAL money!" Instead of going with the flow, they let their conscious be their guide and played from the heart for what they felt and saw to be musically correct!!! In actuality, their latter day releases, were a real SOLID transition, progressing idealistically with the times, extracting the best of the 'Mandrill sensibilities', from their earliest signature discs such as 'Composite Truth' 'Mandrilland' and 'Just Outside of Town' and combining it with their strongest material to date. Ironically, as fate may have it, many devout followers of the band weren't too aware of their 'Arista period' and its 3 delightful releases, which spawned several singles including the hard-driving funk rave-up, 'Can You Get It (Suzy Caeser)'

But THAT's all changed now since the Wilson Brothers have secured the masters to those mighty fine releases. Many are going to be wondering, "where have I been all this time and didn't realize what was missed the first go round?"

This is a DEFINITE MUST FOR FANS WHO REALLY LOVE THE MUSIC OF SUCH A FINE FINE BAND!!!!! 'We Are One' is a classic from START TO FINISH, and to add 'more intrique to the plot, the listener gets the added BONUS of five extra tracks from their subsequent Arista extravaganza, 'New Worlds!' And for all you purists out there, all the instruments except for the strings and harp were EXCLUSIVELY performed by ALL the members of Mandrill!!! So where do we start - how's about the smash single, 'Suzy Caeser'where the group does a 'take' on Lambert Hendricks and Ross. Yeah, when these gentlemen access an influence, man, they sure know how to pick 'em! LHR were second to none in their field and its quite obvious the Wilson Brothers understood the importance of such magnetic 'vocal mentors' for their own music. Other highlights include the ragtime tinged, 'Happy Beat' featuring the highly gifted middle brother CARLOS, on five string banjo, which should get your toes a-tapping by the first few bars! Even the introspective and poignant 'Gilly Hines' with its somber lyrics, fits very nicely within this collection of twelve songs on this wonderfully packaged cd. Other knockouts from 'We Are One' are the sensously compelling, 'Closer to You' and the festive-like instrumental splash of 'Holiday' with its flowing 3 word chorus, "Come Away Holiday." Not to forget, the five extra helpings from 'New Worlds' previously mentioned, that very well stand the test of time, even by today's standards! 'Mean Streets' has a powerful message about growing up poor in the ghetto propelled by youngest brother WOLF on a planged-like Fender precison bass. 'Third World Girl' displays a nice mix of salsa and funk underscored by an English translation of sorts. 'Stay Tonite', a mid-tempo ballad, is a highly memorable toon embellished by a subtle groove of a 3/8 meter.

This remastered cd release is highly recommended - so whatcha waitin for! Go for what you know and get up and get out (and) put this one in your 'must play' cd section of your music library as soon as comes thru your front door!

In 1977 Mandrill showed signs of having listened to fusion and had more or less left the Latin rock behind. The African influences were also granted less room on their records, and if they still stuck out from the bulk of funk bands, the gap was slowly closing. We Are One starts with the two dance hits "Can You Get It" and "Funky Monkey," complete with inspired monkey screams. These are maybe the strongest tracks on the album, with great percussion work, fat basslines, and building horns. And ironically, in being just excellent funk numbers, they are also proof of Mandrill losing some of the creativity that made them different from most other funk bands. But if it is true that one won't find rumbling African drums or musical journeys through all Afro-American musical styles on this album, the rest of the songs do offer a banjo-esque guitar, a harmonica solo, and some distorted rock riffs, all uncommon in late-'70s funk. And even if some of the songs are a little tired, a tired Mandrill is more than just a another band trying to sound like Parliament.

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