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The Best of Mandrill

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Album Review

Rounding up the greatest grooves from the band's first five albums, right up until it left for United Artists in 1975, The Best of Mandrill is a top compilation for one of the most freewheeling bands of the early '70s. Unsurprisingly for a funk group, Mandrill excelled at recording catchy, well-played material with deep grooves, though unlike many bands, all of it was tempered by an experimentalist bent and a restless desire to explore many different avenues (occasionally in the same song). The compilation opens perfectly with "Ape Is High," "Fencewalk," "Git It All," and "Hang Loose" — the band's four biggest hits, and (not a coincidence) its four greatest songs. The other seven tracks aren't always the best available: "Mango Meat" and its self-titled debut single are solid choices, but substituting a pair of album tracks ("House of Wood," "I Refuse to Smile") for the R&B hits "Positive Thing" and "The Road to Love" doesn't make much sense. Most importantly, though, The Best of Mandrill includes every song Mandrill's known for, in a punchy sequencing that does justice to the band's uncommon style.


Formed: 1968 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

One of funk's most progressive outfits, Mandrill paid the price for their ambitions in commercial returns -- not that they never earned a reputation or an audience, but their expansive, eclectic vision often worked better when given an album's worth of room to roam, rather than being condensed into hit singles. Mandrill's jam-heavy brand of funk was liberally infused with Latin, Caribbean, and jazz influences, plus blues, psychedelia, African music, and straight-up rock. Their freewheeling approach...
Full bio
The Best of Mandrill, Mandrill
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, R&B/Soul, Funk
  • Released: Jan 01, 1974

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