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F.B.I.

F.b.i.

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Album Review

Expansion/Soul Brother remastered the original vinyl pressing of F.B.I.'s one album — issued in 1976 — and put it out on CD for listeners' edification. One listen to the soulful, spiritual, jazzed-out funky sounds of F.B.I., fronted by vocalists Root Jackson and Bonnie Wilkinson, will have you asking yourself where this record has been all your life. Like the best of the larger ensembles from the States, such as the early Earth, Wind & Fire, F.B.I.'s sense of dynamics, texture, and rhythmic invention is original, classic, and timeless. The grooves fall hard and fast on the funky tunes such as the title track, "Talking About Love," "The Time Is Right to Leave the City," and "Get the Ball." They float and drop on the listener with a chomping bassline and feisty horn arrangements. Trap drums are augmented with congas and other percussion instruments. Politically speaking, F.B.I. was in the spirit of the Gil Scott-Heron/Brian Jackson band of the time. They were community-oriented, and though their music was accomplished, slick, and full of hooks, they took no sh*t and spat out venom against hypocrisy and inequality. Heavy spiritual vibes fall around the sweet singing of Jackson and Wilkinson; when they come together, they are a two-person choir full of range, depth, and warmth. As soloists, they have original and distinctive voices that are at home in front of a large band. This may sound like an insult, but it's meant to be a compliment: F.B.I. was every bit as fine a band as its American counterparts, erasing the insidious notion that British soul in the 1970s was somehow inferior to that of the Yank variety. This is classic and any fan of funky soul should own it.

F.B.I., F.b.i.
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