Monday, April 18, 2016

Mandrill - 1982 - Energize


01. Put Your Money Where The Funk Is
02. Bust Loose
03. Wired For Love
04. Starry-eyed
05. Soar Like An Eagle
06. Get It While It's Hot
07. Believe In You

- Carlos Wilson / trombone, vocals
- Lou Wilson / trumpet, vocals
- Ric Wilson /sax, vocals

It's quite interesting, that the avid rabid 'drill fans AND the casually interested ones thought Mandrill's final swan song was their third and final album for ARISTA, 1980's 'Getting in the Mood.' NOT SO!! The boys labored about for a few years before hooking up with a brand spanking new subsidary of the Capitol label known as 'MONTAGE' Records, whose home base was Los Angeles, California. (The label's roster included R&B notables, ROLLS ROYCE featuring the gorgeously talented vocalist RICCI BENSON and also the Motor City based funkifized ensemble, SHOTGUN, who previously had recorded several releases for the THEN recently merged MCA/ABC label from 1976 to 1982.) Mandrill's 12th album, entitled 'ENERGIZED' was a bit of a departure for the group, focusing on more of a 'stripped down approach' for their funk oriented grooves and technical prowess. Another sign of the times for the 'Drills, was the departure of their close friend and long time associate, the classically trained Claude 'Coffee' Cave - the all around RENAISSANCE keyboardist who 'helped beat into shape' many of the group's recordings from its days with POLYDOR, UNITED ARTISTS and finally with ARISTA. 'Coffee' was with the band for over 12 years AND had a hand in finalizing the first lineup of the 'Drills back in 1969 whicj featured Bundie Cunac on bass and Charles Padre on drums. Basically, Mr. Cave wanted to 'retreat' from the road and concentrate on movie sound tracks to make his living, enjoying a fine run with his endearing friends of Mandrill. Though, another long time member, NEFTALIE SANTIAGO opted to stay on board as their 'dare-to be-different drummist, while at the same time, a few new fresh faces were enlisted along the way. This included their first AND only female keyboardist, in any Mandrill lineup, the lovely Japanese-born, MIKADO HILL. Guitar chores were handled by the graceously talented, CARLOS DE LA PASS. And as it was, Mandrill was good to go! According to middle brother Carlos Wilson, 'the album title, Energized, was appropriately named because of the way everyone felt about every single track on that record.' 'Most of it was hard driving funk that would have put Mandrill back on the 'fencewalk', if you know what I mean.' 'Montage' was very supportive of us at first, but that didn't last long as they folded up some 6 months later! 'The record wound up as the epitome of lost art!' And that was straight from a 'Mandrill's mouth' as they would say in the industry! SO...that was then, but this IS NOW! The good news is that Mandrill has purchased back the original masters and has plans to reissue those 7 songs on their own WILSON BROTHERS label. So what's the bad news, if you wanna call it that? What I have in my possession is the 'semi-official' remastered release of 'Energized' that has their last top 100 single, the electrifying 5 minute plus funk-a-thon classic, 'Put Your Money Where The Funk Is' and the popular West Coast Love Ballad, 'Starry Eyed on its shiny aluminum coating! The heavy melodic edge of the cd's other burners, 'Get It While Its Hot' and 'Wired For Love' will get you dancing madly backwards by the time each song finishes! But then you'll be begging for some mo', even after just ONE listen, as the music's intoxicating spell waves its smoked fingers to come here, come here! And for you 'early days' Mandrill enthusiasts, the final track 'Believe in You' is highly reminscint of the 'Composite Truth' and 'Just Outside the City' era, just enough to keep ya'll satisfied! As an added gratuity, several mo' fired up mixes of 'Put Your Money...' are included for your intense listening pleasure. So there you have it - something for everyone!

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