Gene and Bobby
Band members Related acts
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Gene and Bobby Strike Again
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: cut top right corner
Catalog ID: 1034
One of the tougher Guinness tax scam releases to track down and a complete mystery to me. I've never seen a review or the album, or any biographical information on this duo (assuming they were actually a duo).
With no production, writing, or performance credits (though the song listing included publishing company credits), it's hard to know what to make of 1977's "Gene and Bobby Strike Again". Assuming Gene and Bobby actually sang on the album, they were both pretty good; quite dynamic, with the kind of range that let them take on a host of mid-'70s soul genres. By my count, these ten tracks managed to touch on at least a half dozen acts including surprisingly good nods to Earth, Wind and Fire ('Kalimba'), Eddie Kendricks ('Boogie Down'), Curtis Mayfield ('Kung Fu'), and Barry White (the over-the-top disco number 'Hang On In There Baby'). Musically it may have been short on originality, but it was a fun collection, allowing you to spend thirty minutes playing spot-the-influences. Guinness released a lot of crap (what do you expect from a label that never wanted to actually sell records), but occasionally managed to release a near gem. As mentioned, this one's a little short in the originality department, but still manages to come off as one of the better Guinness releases.
Bobby Strike Again" track listing:
1.) Love Explosion
'Love Explosion' opened the album up with a breezy, bass heavy soul number with a pseudo-environmentalist lyric. With nice blended vocals (presumably from Gene and Bobby), to my ears it sounded a bit like a decent imitation of the kind of stuff Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were churning out at the time. Definitely commercial. rating: *** stars
2.) Who Are You?
Nice Stax-styled soul thumper and one of that album highlights. rating: **** stars
3.) Boogie Down
Every time I hear this one it reminds me of a mid-'70s Eddie Kendricks performance. Same falsetto-styled vocal and horn powered funky arrangement. Docked a star for coming up a bit short in the originality department. rating: *** stars
4.) Take A Little More
So every album needs at least one big ballad and that's why you got on the shimmering 'Take a Little More'. Pretty, but anonymous. rating: *** stars
5.) Hang On In There Baby
With a heavily orchestrated disco arrangement, 'Hang On In There Baby' sounded a bit like Sam & Dave trying out there best Barry White impersonations. rating: ** stars
Probably the album's best proper duet with the pair trotting out a nice, bass-propelled, mid-tempo soul ballad. Nice. rating: **** stars
Showcasing a thumb piano (kalimba), this time out the guys seemed to have their eyes set on Maurice White and Earth, Wind, and fire styled funk. Sporting one of the album's most memorable tunes, it was easily one of the album highlights. rating:**** stars
3.) Funky Party
Yeah, the title got this one right - mindless party tune that wasn't particularly funky, though the '60s vibe and jazzy guitar were actually kind of cool. rating: *** stars
4.) Happiness Is Just Around the Bend
Nice jazzy-funk mash-up with plenty of Latin percussion, though a bit too much orchestration. Curiously, the high nasally vocals didn't sound like anything else on the album which always left me wondering if it was actually the same guys. rating: *** stars
5.) Kung Fu (Curtis Mayfield)
For whatever reason (copyright concerns?), their cover of Curtis Mayfield's 'King Fu' wasn't even shown on the outer cover track listing. Nice, breezy funky take on the song. I suspect Mayfield would have approved. rating: **** stars
This is nothing more than speculation on my part, but I've always wondered if this was the work of Bobby Nunn and Gene Coplin (who recorded some '60s and early-'70s material as Bob and Gene).
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