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The Best of the Bar-Kays (Remastered)

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Album Review

While curiously overlooking the group's earliest hits ("Soul Finger" and "Knucklehead"), The Best of the Bar-Kays offers a worthwhile thumbnail portrait of the Bar-Kays' evolution from a neo-Booker T. & the MG's soul instrumental combo into one of the wilder funk ensembles of the 1970s. Focusing on the years 1968 (when the group's second lineup came together following the death of four members of the band in the same airplane crash that claimed Otis Redding) through 1975 (when the band left Stax to sign with Mercury), The Best of the Bar-Kays finds them bridging the gap between the R&B sounds of the 1960s and the 1970s, and gaining more than their share of attitude along the way. Highlights include a very Booker T.-influenced cover of "Midnight Cowboy," the funky and funny Isaac Hayes pastiche "Son of Shaft," a revved-up take on "Montego Bay," and the tight groove of "A.J. the Housefly." While not a complete overview of the Bar-Kays' career, The Best of the Bar-Kays is at least a strong starter, and should ideally be followed up by The Best of Bar-Kays, which concentrates on their work for Mercury.

Customer Reviews

The Best of the Bar-Kays (Remasterd)

Here’s the lowdown: this greatest hits collection could be deceiving to those casual fans of the band. It focuses on older, less known jams. Those familiar with the band from the late 70’s and 80’s may want to look elsewhere for that legendary, funky Bar-Kays sound. Having dissed the disc let me add that the price of admission is completely fulfilled for the inarguably slammin' and probably blasphemous rump-shaker “Holy Ghost”. This already rare track is wisely included in it’s more than 8 minute version and is a must-have for any true fan of the K’s. Skip the whole disc if you must, but get the “saved” now baby! Yo booty will be eternally thankful!

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...
Full Bio