Soul Sisters: The Sights and Sounds of African-American Underground

Soul Sisters: The Sights and Sounds of African-American Underground


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Soul Sisters: The Sights and Sounds of African-American Underground

Soul Sisters is a bit of a mystery upon first listen. It claims to be music from X-rated African-American films produced in the San Francisco Bay Area in the '70s, 1972 to 1975 to be exact. Yet something just does not sit right with that explanation. Searching for information on the musicians involved turns up very little. Not surprising considering most people involved with blue movies used pseudonyms, but despite a few nods to the very loose, drunken jam qualities of the proto-Earth, Wind & Fire band that recorded Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the recordings here are very clean, very stiff, and frankly some of the ambient keyboard work here could never have happened in the era these tracks are supposed to represent. By the time "Theme From 'Chocolate Cherry'" rolls up with its scratchy violin and minor chord sophistication (oh so clean), it's almost certain that this is a put-on, a "punk'd" for music nerds who fetishize reissue nostalgia. A quick check of the label of release, Black Beauty, reveals that it is also home to Mushroom, a group whose mix of rock, jazz, soul, and so on has made them favorites on the West Coast. And indeed, the playing on Soul Sisters, although stripped down by comparison, is remarkably consistent with that of the Mushroom team on its 2003 album Mad Dogs and San Franciscans. The last time someone tried to pull a fast one like this, it was the Desco label out of New York with the Daktaris, who had a far more accurate take on Afro-beat than this bunch of Soul Sisters have done with sleazy '70s soul. Still, with time the Daktaris became Antibalas and their Soul Explosion album became a revival classic. Chances are this will appeal to those familiar with Mushroom, but whether it makes it as a faux soundtrack collection, well, only time will tell. The booklet reprints vintage photos of African-American women in various states of undress; unfortunately, it's the only authentic part of Soul Sisters.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/21/2005
Label: Black Beauty
UPC: 0646315200720
catalogNumber: 72007
Rank: 252169

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