The Headhunters - Survival Of The Fittest (CD) (Japanese Import)
In 1975, 's group , which brought him immense success at the time, released their first solo album. Produced by , but without his participation, the lineup features the group of on drums, on bass, on percussion, and on various reeds, plus new guitarist , who toured with and performed on the and albums. They added a few guests: three further percussionists (, and Harvey Mason Sr. -- the latter was the first drummer) and flutist . While the thought of a -less might puzzle some listeners, the group did extremely well without him -- in fact, may be the ultimate space-funk album. The interplay between all musicians is tighter than tight, especially in the rhythm section of --, who can effortlessly make everything groove and move. The first track, "God Make Me Funky," marks 's debut as a lead vocalist -- a role he unfortunately wouldn't reprise too often. While his singing is a bit off-key, his vocals owe much to the blues tradition and carry great urgency and authenticity. At the end of the song, his voice is quite reminiscent of . The track starts off as a funky R&B number (the beginning bears close resemblance to their earlier "Palm Grease"), with background vocals being provided by ; it then turns into a fast chase with an intense, frantic solo which borders on the atonal. "Mugic" starts off like the funk version of "Watermelon Man," and turns out to be a showcase for ' various percussion instruments. "Here and Now" starts aimlessly, develops into a lopey groove, and gains speed as delivers another excellent solo, accompanied by ethereal guitar sounds. "Daffy's Dance" is in a similar vein, though it's rhythmically more consistent and has a rather funny melody. "Rima" is extremely spacy -- 's guitar serves as a substitute for keyboards and produces lots of freaky sounds; 's echoey alto flute provides a good counterpart for 's bass clarinet; adds atmospheric percussion, and the groove is very subdued. The last track, "If You've Got It, You'll Get It," returns to a funk/R&B mode, featuring a catchy bass riff and a singalong chant, though this time steps into the solo spotlight. is consistently interesting and features lots of great performances by excellent musicians -- and it never forgets to groove.