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Money Talks

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Album Review

Although the Bar-Kays stuck with the Stax Records until its demise in 1976, the label stopped releasing the group's recordings after 1973. However, when they re-emerged as a success on the Mercury label with hits like "Shake Your Rump to the Funk," some unreleased recordings they made between 1974 and 1976 were released as an album entitled Money Talks. Although this repackaging was obviously designed to cash in on the group's success, Money Talks stands up as a solid and consistent album in its own right. This material lays the groundwork for the Bar-Kays' post-Stax style by trading live-in-the-studio jams for a carefully produced sound and blending in standout pop hooks into the funky grooves. The best example is "Holy Ghost," a hard-grooving monster of a jam where elaborate horn arrangements dance around a thick synthesizer bassline as Larry Dodson lays down a salacious vocal about his lover's otherworldly romantic skills. It became a big R&B hit when released as a single in 1978 and was later sampled by M/A/R/R/S on their club classic "Pump Up the Volume." Other memorable tracks include the title track, a high-stepping tune that showcases the chops of the horn players, and "Mean Mistreater," an unlikely but effective Grand Funk Railroad cover that transforms the minimalist original tune into a spooky yet sexy mood piece built on some languid keyboard work. None of the other tracks are as strong as "Holy Ghost" (which is so good that it bookends the album in two versions), but they are all listenable and flow together surprisingly well as an album. All in all, Money Talks is a fine slab of vintage funk that will please anyone who loves old-school grooves. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi


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 well, making for a career longevity that no one would have predicted for Stax's formerly star-crossed number-two house band. The...
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Money Talks, The Bar-Kays
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