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Propositions

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Album Review

Funk pioneers the Bar-Kays not only succeeded in stamping their own rock influence on the genre, but also influenced a generation of vocalists while keeping their own sense of sound intact. By the '80s, however, the band had traded in some of their traditional chops for a more electronic vibe, one which certainly gave nod to the younger generation of funkers coming up right behind them — Prince and Cameo's Larry Blackmon especially. This move to a wave groove is particularly evident on Propositions, although the band keeps three very distinctive styles going throughout the set. The majority of songs, however, are heavy on the synth, including the title track and "Tripping Out." "Do It (Let Me See You Shake)," meanwhile, had trappings that were pure Prince, and cracked the R&B Top Ten. To temper that tumultuous flow, the band also included two soul/rock ballads, "Anticipation" and "I Can't Believe You're Leaving Me." Both the old school "(Busted)" and "You Made a Change in My Life," meanwhile, returned the funk to full focus, while the band lets their real talents rip. Propositions definitely succeeded in its time and its place. Bar-Kays fans from the '70s probably won't love it, but anyone who cut their teeth on the pop sounds of the mid-'80s should snap this up and enjoy the history lesson.

Biography

Formed: 1966 in Memphis, TN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Initially a funky instrumental soul combo on Stax/Volt, the Bar-Kays were nearly destroyed when most of the band perished in the same plane crash that claimed Otis Redding. Amazingly, the Bar-Kays not only regrouped but prospered, evolving into a popular funk ensemble over the course of the '70s. They continued to score hits on the R&B charts through much of the '80s as...
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Propositions, The Bar-Kays
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