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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Music Review: The Dynamics First Landing – Lost Soul Redeemed

Jonathan Lethem’s novel Fortress Of Solitude featured a number of imaginary soul musicians nestled among the real-life stars of soul and R and B as part of the fabric of his narrative. Hacktone’s reissue of The Dynamics 1969 album First Landing sounds like what I imagined one of Lethem’s imaginary groups to be: lost could-have-been first string soul stars. First Landing is a surprisingly strong example of the last gasp of traditional soul as it was being challenged first by funk, and later by disco. Sharp, punchy arrangements and production (on two songs by the legendary Chips Moman) are re-mastered to perfection here.
First Landing is impressive in its consistency in a genre known more for singles than for long players. It is stronger song-for-song than, say, Al Green’s debut album. This is all the more notable given the stylistic variety on display, from up-tempo burners like “ I Don’t Want Nobody to Lead Me On” to funky churners like “Dum-De-Dum” to ballads like “What Would I Do.” Isaac “Zeke” Harris has a terrific voice, aided and abetted by co-leads George White (who busts out a killer falsetto) and Fred “Sonny” Baker.
This is a real treat for any fans of late 60’s and early 70’s soul. First Landing gets 4 out of 5 afro picks:

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