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Reuben Wilson & The Cost Of Living - Got To Get Your Own (1975) [Reissue 2008]
Artist: Reuben Wilson & The Cost Of Living
Title Of Album: Got To Get Your Own
Year Of Release: 2008
Label: Dusty Groove America / DGA3013
Genre: Funk / Soul, Jazz
Total Time: 35:00 min
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: Lossless
Total Size: 248 mb

On his only album for Chess' Cadet imprint, B-3 organist Reuben Wilson pulled the second of his now classic career change-ups. His first was on 1971's Set Us Free, his final album for Blue Note. On that date Wilson and producer George Butler brought in a female backing chorus, a large soul band, and arranger Wade Marcus for a driving set of psychedelic soul, hard funk, and rockist B-3 workouts. Wilson moved to Groove Merchant for a couple of years where he released two solid albums with producer Sonny Lester before coming to Cadet in 1975 for this ill-fated date. Chess was in dire financial straits by this time and was soon to close its doors; the album became a cutout almost immediately. It languished in the bins and in record stores and distribution warehouse basements until sample crazy beatheads and British DJs picked up on it in the late 1980s.

Wilson called his backing group "the Cost of Living," even though this unit was comprised of studio players including trumpeter Jon Faddis, saxophonists Pee Wee Ellis, Seldon Powell, and Houston Person, drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, trombonist Garnett Brown, bassists Wilbur Bascomb and Gordon Edwards, conguero Norman Pride, and Richard Tee on Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano. The session was orchestrated and conducted by Brad Baker (of B. Baker Chocolate Company) with string arrangements by Marcus once more. The whole mess was produced by Esmond Edwards. There are vocals on this date too: Sammy Turner and Kenny Williams handle lead vocals on three cuts, and a mixed gender chorus helps out virtually everywhere. Clocking In at just under 35 minutes, this set features one funky masterpiece after another. The enormous horn and wah-wah guitar driven original "What the People Gon' Say," has a call and response chorus worthy of the Ohio Players and breaks worthy of the J.B.'s. Turner's vocals are fat and meaty enough to lay down some expressive, swaggering, streetwise observations on modern life, justice, and commerce -- remember this set was recorded during the final days of the Gerald Ford administration and was a direct slap at Watergate. This is followed by "In the Booth, In the Back, In the Corner, In the Dark," a tender, big-arrangement soul tune that walks the line between strutting uptown- and Curtom-styled soul. Edwards wrote "Back Rub," where the only voices are a breathy male sexual exhale and the backing chorus. This is pure funky organ and synth madness, as the dialogue between Wilson, Tee and Marcus' strings all vie for dominance in the mix. Williams lends his fine voice to lead the chorus in a spunky reading of Barbara Acklin's "Stoned Out of My Mind," with its choppy wah-wah guitars and Wilson's melodic line on the Hammond, as it darts in and out of the punchy horn charts. This is the place where funk begins to blur into killer early disco. The best is saved for last, however, as the title track which closes the set is just a monster funk jam. Soaring flute, punchy chanted vocals, breakbeats, popping basslines, and twinned keyboard and single-string guitar vamps create a hypnotic rhythmic attack, so when the bridge arrives, the whole tune just explodes. This one is guaranteed to make the room jump -- Ellis' tenor solo in place of the vocal on the second verse is spare but forceful and adds to the big low-end kick of Purdie's drums. There isn't a weak second here. Chicago's Dusty Groove imprint licensed and released this gem on CD for the first time in 2008.

01 What The People Gon' Say
02 In The Booth, In The Back, In The Corner, In The Dark
03 Back Rub
04 Tight Money
05 Stoned Out Of My Mind
06 Together (You And Me)
07 Got To Get Your Own

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Tags: Reuben, Wilson, Living, Reissue

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