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Fencewalk: The Anthology

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Album Review

Right from the start of this two-disc collection, with the track that shares the band's name, it's clear that Mandrill had some seriously heavy funk credentials — and broad ranging ones at that. Only early Santana and War gained the same level of attention and appreciation for their exciting, invigorating Latin-funk hybrids. Fencewalk: The Anthology actually isn't the best of purchases for longtime fans; unlike many multi-disc CD anthologies, there aren't any rarities or previously unreleased songs available, outside of the concluding "Echoes in My Mind," which surfaced on the soundtrack to The Warriors. It's a reasonable enough number but not particularly special by the band's standards, and not reason enough alone to pick this up. But as a more than fine overview of Mandrill's work throughout the '70s, from the start to finish of those ten years, this is required listening for anyone exploring the roots of electric funk, two and a half hours of party music aiming to move minds and bodies in equal measure. The Wilson brothers and their fellow musicians had an ear for just about everything, from the sweetest of soul harmonies over lush strings to the loudest of acid rock-inspired riffs and plenty of roots-deep inspiration from salsa and Latin jazz. Claude "Coffee" Cave demonstrates throughout why he ranks up there as one of the best keyboardists of his time — at his best he easily gives Bernie Worrell a well-deserved run for the money — while the interplay of drummers Charles Padro and, later, Neftali Santiago with the Wilsons on percussion is maximum groove energy on many levels. An appreciative, well-written essay on Mandrill's heyday and abilities from Pablo Guzman is very welcome, while Gary Mayo's remastering job deserves full marks for bringing out the detail of the arrangements beautifully into the digital realm.

Customer Reviews

Another Underrated '70s Funk Band

Although they are contemporaries of Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang, Mandrill is rarely mentioned in the same breath as the previous groups. This is a shame, because Mandrill deserve their rightful place at the top of the heap. These guys blend elements of War, The Meters, Santana, and EWF and still maintain an original voice. All the appropriate elements are there to create a masterful funk juggernaut: heavy percussion, terrific vocal harmonies, and brash horn hits. For any fans of the aforementioned groups, you must own this; you won't regret it.

Sexy TALENTED, GIFTED Men made Beautiful Music

Music so good it'll make you weep--I remember listening to all their ALBUMS in the 70's (WDAS FM, Philly and New Jersey) and they sound like something new and fresh everytime I listen to them--Music used to be Soooo good then...Buy this WHOLE album and listen--(ORIGINAL)-good to work out to and reminisce...they should be rediscovered...I love,love,love these beautiful people

Excellent musicians

Mandrill is one of the most unsung bands in music history. Their music will always have a place in my rotation. BTW......Todays music STINKS!......If i'm not listening to my's sattelite radio!


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
Fencewalk: The Anthology, Mandrill
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  • $19.99
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music, Rock, Funk
  • Released: Jan 01, 1997

Customer Ratings


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