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Soul Express Album Review

We the People
(UK Soul Brother, 1972 / 2006)

1) We The People 2) Your Love Is So Doggone Good 3) It's All In Your Mind 4) Soul To The People 5) Think 6) 1993 7) When Will My Eyes See 8) Blowout

This is the first time EVER that this album has been released on CD. This recording from 1972 is the one that put the indefatigable Chuck Brown on the musical map. At this point they were a 9 piece band with full orchestration, percussion and organ and more than gave Kool & The Gang, War, Fatback and Mandrill a run for their money! This album is known for two reasons: firstly it is excellent and essential and secondly it is widely known by those who are into their breakbeats and samples. If you're into that sort of thing, that is. I cannot recommend this album highly enough. It grabs you by the musical throat and shakes the soul into action. It's funky, fired up and fierce. Chuck takes no prisoners and totally captivates us like nothing else.

If only there was material around like this today. AND I don't mean the cheap and nasty British Acid Jazz copycat artists either. There is no comparison. Please forget buying the latest British hype out of London and check out the Soul Searchers. They are, of course, the definitive article and your money and time are better served there. There are some ballads – as such – on here, but I fear they simply don't appeal to me. I think that the funk is best served up here and the harder the better.

Out of the 8 tracks on here there are no less than 5 that really get my old toes tapping and butt moving. The title song is a gust of pure wah wah funk and blasting horns. Such a strong cut to start off the album... it really kicks backside and doesn't slow down. The positive, socially conscious message bodes well, as does the fantastic version of Lyn Collins' “Think”. This lives up to the work of the J.B.s surprisingly well.

Talking of the J.B.'s and all things funky drummer, “1993” satisfies those who like that sort of rhythm. An odd track, and why “1993”? Bet they never foresaw the degradation of R&B from Rhythm and Blues to Rubbish and Bland! Anyway, enough of my ranting. Should War or The Wild Magnolias be your bag then the jazzy “It's All In Your Mind” will definitely be up your street. The tambourine shakes, the funky guitar licks and the vocals are so funky they are FONKY! LOL.

My final choice is the instrumental cut “Blowout” which is very much in the Kool & The Gang mode a la “Peace And Understanding” era. A great track to cap off a great album. It sounds fantastic too. Soul Brother deliver the goods again!
- Barry Towler

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