Black Heart

Band members                             Related acts

- unknown




- none known





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Jigsaw

Company: Guinness

Catalog: GNS 36025

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still sealed

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5829

Price: $250.00


Releases on the short-lived Guinness tax-scam label are all over the spectrum in terms of musical genre and material quality.  1977's Paul Whitehead produced Black Heart's "Jigsaw" aptly fit that description. Musically the set was really kind of a musical mess, bouncing all over the genre map, including stabs at light-disco, kazoo and jug powered funk ('Jigsaw Puzzle'), and even old school soul ('Side Effects').  The fact that it was such a diverse album ranging from Jimmy Castor-styled funk ('King King') to Sweet Inspirations-styled female soul ('Feel It'), also made you wonder if Blackheart was a real outfit, or just a front for a bunch of different groups that Guinness had swept together in an effort to package the material as an album.  If nothing else it made for one of the label's more interesting releases.     


Closing thoughts - don't believe the hype surrounding this one as it isn't a lost classic.  It's more than okay, but nowhere near as great as dealers would have you believe.


"Jigsaw" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Jigsaw Puzzle   (Ankh) -    rating: **** stars

So if George Clinton and The Rutles decided to write a funk song for kazoo and jug, what would it sound like?  Well "Jigsaw Puzzle' should give you a pretty good idea.  One of the odder funk songs I've encountered, but quite likeable in a goofy way.

2.) Feel It   (Pitter Patter) -     rating: ** stars

Bouncing along on a disco beat and breathy female vocals, 'Feel It' sounded like an outtake from The Munich Machine, or some other mid-1970s German disco machine.  Maybe something Silver Convention might have included on one of their albums ... 

3.) Slow Down (instrumental)   (Pitter Patter) -      rating: *** stars

'Slow Down' started out with an interesting jazz-rock fusion synthesizer segment before morphing into a nice slice of Moog-powered light funk.  The occasional anonymous female vocals really didn't add much to the song and things got real strange at the end when the song literally slowed down, making me check my turntable to ensure the belt hadn't slipped ...

4.) King Kong   (Jimpire) -     rating: ** stars

As mentioned above, 'King King' sounded like something off of a Jimmy Castor Group album (think ''Troglodyte (Cave Man)' or 'The Bertha Butt' Boogie').  Come to think of it, I think Castor and company actually recorded a song with the same title.  Wonder if it was the same effort.  Harmless fun.     

5.) Side Effects   (Ankh) -    rating: **** stars

An old school ballad, 'Side Effects' was unlike anything else on side one.  The song wasn't anything special.  Pretty, but hardly spectacular.  What made the track interesting was the anonymous lead singer.  At least to my ears his flat and lispy delivery sounded like Elmer Fudd fronting The Manhattans. 



(side 2)
1.) Feel the Need In Me   (Pitter Patter) -     rating: ** stars

Side two started with one of the lamest 'love man' ballads you've ever heard.  'Feel the Need In Me' literally didn't exhibit a single original note or idea.  Your six year old could have come up with lyrics that were sexier than this stuff ("I'm so glad baby that we're finally getting it on I've been wanting to get next to you girl for so doggone long").   Play this one for that special lady and she was either going to laugh herself silly, or smack you up the side of the head.  Actually the falsetto backing vocals were so bad they were worth hearing.       

2,) So In Love   (Mayfield) -    rating: **** stars

'So In Love' was a real mystery.  Credited to 'Mayfield' this old school ballad literally sounded like a Curtis Mayfield performance - the unknown singer had the same glistening falsetto.  This breezy ballad could easily been a mid-1970s hit for Mayfield, or someone else.   The album's standout performance and my only complaint was that it was too short.    

3.) Mistreated Woman   (Ankh) -    rating: **** stars

I'm a sucker for a good bass line and 'Mistreated Woman' had one.  In fact the pattern was so good you could overlook the rest of the song's shortcomings.   Another old school ballad, this one was better than 'Feel the Need In Me', but not as good as 'So In Love'.  

4.) Happy     rating: **** stars

Another standout performance, 'Happy' offered up a dazzling slice of early-1970s harmony soul - think along the lines of The Chi-Lites, The Dynamics, The Stylistics, etc.   The funny thing is that the lead and backing vocals on this one were pretty rough, but the performances were enthusiastic and the song was strong enough to make you forget about those lapses.  

5.) Shotgun Shuffle (instrumental)   (Sherlyn) -    rating: **** stars

The horn powered instrumental 'Shotgun Shuffle' had one of those late-1970s Caribbean grooves - imagine something like Marcia Griffiths' 'The Electric Slide'.  Easy to picture yourself in Bermuda, or The Caymans grooving to this one.  




SRB 11/2009