Madcliff ... CD Guinness/Soul Brother (UK), 1977. New Copy ...
A rare funky gem from Madcliff – an early project from Chris Hills, who'd soon go onto greater fame in Players Association! The album's got a much more soul-based sound than Hills' later material – still upbeat and groovy, but delivered with an indie soul vibe that keeps things nice and raw – much more tight funk than slick disco, even though some of the grooves here are perfect for the club! The album only saw brief release on the tiny Guinness label – who also gave us the classic Newban set – and this record's got a similar blend of righteous currents and jazzy funk – all served up at a level that's very individual, and which has made the whole thing an overlooked gem for years! Chris uses some bold piano currents, light string flourishes, and some right rhythms that really keep things funky, even when clubby – on titles that include "Goin To The Disco", "I Like It", "You Can Make The Change", "It Takes A Little Time", "Just Another Woman", "What The People Say About Love", and "Steal You Away". CD
A wonderful package – a set that brings together two rare funk albums by Newban, an early version of Atlantic Starr – plus bonus tracks too! The first Newban record is one of the sweetest ensemble funk albums of the 70s – and a record that's gone on to become a classic, despite the fact that most people know little about the group! Newban have a sound that's almost a jazzier take on the Earth Wind & Fire groove of the time – a style that's warm and fluid, and which really gets past the cliches of other larger funk acts – and manages to find a space in sound that's all its own! There's lots of odd phrasings and chords on the set – creating these very blue passages even when the group's grooving in an uptempo mode – almost like the sense of sadness that creeps out from Stevie Wonder's work during his best early 70s years. The sound is totally unique, and uniquely wonderful – and the album includes the classic "Father Time", plus the cuts "Magic Lady", "Mellow Days, Easy Nights", "Fatback Sally", and "Hungry Grin". Newban 2 is every bit as great as the first album – if not better – with some excellent excellent lost material that's the kind of stuff that still keeps you diggin' for the hard ones. Includes the track "Greenburgh", with a tight funky intro and a smooth sweet soul groove, plus lots of other great cuts like "Free Your Mind", "Easin' Through", "Find a Place to Live", and "Rhythm & Rhyme". This deluxe package also features three rare bonus tracks – "Oh Wow", "Miracle Holiday", and "Bells" – tracks recorded before the first two albums! CD