2 LPs on 1 CD: BLACK ROCK (1971)/GOTTA GROOVE (1969).
The Bar-Kays: Larry Dodson (vocals); Michael Toles (guitar); Harvey Henderson (tenor saxophone); Joe Arnold, Andrew Love (saxophone); Ben Cauley (trumpet); Ronnie Gordon, Bobby Manuel (keyboards); James Alexander (bass); Roy Cunningham, Willie Hall (drums).
Producers: Allen Jones, Al Bell, Tom Nixon.
Engineers include: Ron Capone, Bobby Manuel, William Brown.
Recorded between 1968 and 1970. Originally released on Volt as two separate LPs (6004, 6011). Includes liner notes by Lee Hildebrand.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1994, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
The Bar-Kays were early progenitors of '70s funk. BLACK ROCK/GOTTA GROOVE is two records on one CD; both albums feature early incarnations of the band. The tracks on GOTTA GROOVE are from 1968, one year after the group had lost four of its members in the same plane crash that killed Otis Redding.
Two drummers, Roy Cunningham and Willie Hall, are heard on many of the tracks, and bring extra drive and ferocity to the groove. Highlights of BLACK ROCK/GOTTA GROOVE include "Don't Stop Dancing (To the Music)" and "In the Hole," both of which display early forms of the group's black rock/funk sound, a kind of Jimi Hendrix/Sly and the Family Stone musical cocktail. Other influences abound, however; for example, the Bar-Kays' instrumental version of Paul McCartney's "Yesterday," featuring Ben Cauley's smooth trumpet work, is decidedly reminiscent of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.