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Two-Headed Freap (1972)

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Ronnie Foster

Ronnie Foster's debut album Two Headed Freap is a set of contemporary funky soul-jazz from the early '70s, which means it sounds closer to the soundtrack of a lost blaxploitation flick than Back at the Chicken Shack, Pt. 2. Foster certainly does display a debt to Jimmy Smith, but his playing is busier than Smith's and a bit wilder. Ironic, then, that his playing is in service to the groove and blends into the mix of wah-wah guitars, funk rhythms, electric bass, harps, and percolating percussion. Everything on Two Headed Freap is about glitzy groove -- it sounds cinematic, colorful, and funky. It's true that there is little real improvisation here and the songs all have a similar groove, but it's worked well, and the music is ultimately appealing to fans of this genre. Jazz purists -- even soul-jazz purists -- will likely find this music a little monotonous and commercial, but fans of early-'70s funk from Sly Stone to Herbie Hancock will find something of interest here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine