Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rasputin's Stash - 1971 - Rasputin's Stash

Rasputin's Stash
Rasputin's Stash

01. Your Love Is Certified
02. I’d Like To Know You Better
03. What’s On Your Mind?
04. Take Me On Back
05. Mr. Cool
06. You Better Think
07. Freaks Prayer / Prelude
08. Dookey Shoe
09. You Are My Flower
10. I Want To Say You’re Welcome
11. Epilogue

Bass, Vocals – Bruce Butler
Brass – Wardell Peel
Congas, Percussion – Norval Taylor
Drums, Percussion – Frank Donaldson
Keyboards, Vocals – Paul Coleman
Keyboards, Vocals – Vincent Willis
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Martin Dumas, Jr.
Reeds – James Whitfield

Producer – Andy Pappas
Recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida

Heavy stoner funk.  Blacksploitation before the word was even invented.  This mob were tough looking, tough sounding, and if you saw the cover, not to be taken lightly.

Best-known for having been sampled by Beck and the Chemical Brothers, this Chicago psychedelic soul octet call to mind Funkadelic and Sly & the Family Stone on their superb debut LP, which was originally issued in September 1971 and makes its long overdue CD debut here.

The cover may lead one to believe one is in for a Funkadelic-styled, unwholesome, vile stew of dark, heavy, funk rock. Yet, aside the fact that it does have a trippy 'psyched'-out atmos to it, it lacks the haunting sense of doom so prevalent on Funkadelic's first three LPs.

"Your Love Is Certified" is the monster track, with its droning, buzzing, distorted guitars and bombastically loud drumming. Psy-soul at its best.

"I'd Like to Know You Better" sounds a little more traditional, a great soul gem with a nice double-time bridge built in and some super tight, tex-mex horn riffing. There are some ghostly, ghoulish Funkadelic-like backing vocals here at the end that give it a slightly unsetteling vibe.

Things get truly trippy with "What's On Your Mind", which kicks off with a vamp of psychedelic noise and then swiftly starts riding a speedy, horn-induced groove. Incessant congas further deepen the beat, and the whole band singing together really ads that tribal touch of voodoo funk.

"Take Me on Back" is something of country-fried ballad, drenched in howling harmonica and delicate guitar noodlings. Folksy funk, with a hint of gospel piano and a bunch of strings. The rhythm gets more upfront as the song progresses, but it's basically the requisited Side A ballad. "Mr. Cool", however, shifts matters back firmly in laid-back, spacey funk rock territory; droning organ, quirky chord progressions, echoed vocals and layers and layers of brass.

More psychedelic weirdness sparks off the disc's longest jam, the truly bizar "You Better Think". A powerful message tune, it sports a ferocious, lazily struttin' groove over which the entire Stash harmonize about the importance of education. That ominous, scratching guitar moves under the rhythm like a snake on the prowl, with blasts of horn all over the place. And as it started, "You Better Think" dissolves into psychodelized beeps, blurts, sounds and thangs.

"Freak's Prayer" is a showcase for the congas; another sweaty, communal celebration of the Funk, hypnotizing in its no-let up groovin', with some pretty snazzy acoustic guitar soloing on top of it.

Fatback funkin' fun is up next with the slow-grinding monster jam "Dookey Shoe", the LP's most lighthearted joint, before Rasputin's Stash close their premier LP with the more subdued, mid-tempo, poppy sounding "You Are My Flower" and one last blast of acid-drenched souladelica with the Sly Stone-esque "I Want to Say You're Welcome".

A superb slice of psychedelic-soul-funk-rock extravaganza.