Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Funk, Instrumental Rock

Album Review

The Age of Aquarius may have fallen out of fashion, but "what's your sign" was still the ultimate pickup line at the end of the 1970s. Disco novelty band the Floaters had counted on that with their brash mid-1977 "Float On," and the Bar-Kays, of course, couldn't resist a little good-humored stroke, especially if it carried commercial punch as well. So, for the November release of their second Mercury LP, Flying High on Your Love, the inner sleeve featured the band's photos -- complete with star signs. Jokes aside, the Bar-Kays delivered a juicy set of funk movers accented by disco beats and augmented by ballads. It was a tremendous mix. "Shut the Funk Up" is an overlooked gem, lost as the band sublimated their sound in the 1980s. A near-perfect disco song punctuated by the funky horn triumvirate of Charles "Scoop" Allen, Harvey "Joe" Henderson, and Frank "Captain Disaster" Thompson and dominated by vocalist Larry "D" Dodson's call to "get on up or just shut the funk up," it's immediately apparent that disco never sounded so good -- or so funky. "Woman of the Night" and "Let's Have Some Fun" follow suit, while stomping the disco beat down with some pretty heavy funk riffing. But, of course, that's why the Bar-Kays were, and remained, so successful. They were fully committed to their funk forbears while never taking their eyes off the shifting musical climate. Thus, they were able to make the leap from funk to disco in a way that almost no other bands could match. The Bar-Kays' late-'70s sounds, then, were not one or the other, but a seamless blend of both. A fine mix and a glorious achievement.
Amy Hanson, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Shut the Funk Up
  2. Standing on the Outside
  3. Woman of the Night
  4. Whatever It Is
  5. Can't Keep My Hands off You
  6. Let's Have Some Fun
  7. Attitudes
  8. You Can't Run Away
  9. Flying High on Your Love