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Skin I'm In

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Album Review

For what would be their final album, the Chairmen of the Board teamed up with producer Jeffrey Bowen to create an album that was radically different from all of their previous output. Instead of the Motown-styled harmony soul that earned the group their pop-chart success, Skin I'm In was built on a psychedelic funk-rock sound that was very close to the music George Clinton was exploring around the same time. A look at the album's credits reveals why the album sounds like this: the backup band includes several members of Funkadelic and Parliament, including Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel. The result is a surprisingly effective combination of pop-soul hooks and funky grit: "Everybody Party All Night" pits smooth harmonies against a staccato wah-wah guitar hook to create an energetic, rhythmic slice of soul and "Finders Keepers" weaves punchy horn charts into its soulful keyboard-driven melody to create a funky toe-tapper of a tune. The album's centerpiece is an epic cover of Sly Stewart's "Life and Death" that blends the song's pulsating melody with flowery instrumental passages built of Mellotron and synthesizer. The album balances this funk-rock attack with lovely ballads on the album's second side, including a heartbreakingly soulful cover of "Only Love Can Break a Heart." In the end, Skin I'm In is so different from past efforts that it may alienate fans of the Chairmen of the Board's early hits but it is definitely a worthwhile listen for fans of funk music, especially those who love Funkadelic and Parliament. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1969 in Detroit, MI

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Best known for the stuttering number three single "Give Me Just a Little More Time," the Chairmen of the Board were one of the smoothest and most popular soul acts to emerge from Detroit in the early '70s. Although their time at the top of the R&B charts was brief -- their first Top Ten arrived in 1970, their last in 1973 -- they recorded a handful of '70s soul classics, all distinguished by the high, trembling vocals of General Norman Johnson, who also wrote the bulk of the group's material. Born...
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Skin I'm In, Chairmen of the Board
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