Some sunshine from the pan man John Gibbs and the Unlimited Sound of Steel. Steel Funk is the Trinidadians foray into the disco scene. It's a mix of steel drums, tight back beats, lush horns and all things funky. Gibbs and co made this record when he traveled to Philly in the 70's when the disco scene was in full swing. Mr Levan himself played their tunes out in New York which is probably the best seal of approval you can get. Repressed on vinyl LP and CD from EM Records.
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- Steel Funk by John Gibbs and the Unlimited Sound of Steel Orchestra
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8/10 Andrew Customer review, 23rd December 2014
Following the success of the two 12" reissues of John Gibbs disco classics, the groups album now gets to see the light of day again. However, buyer beware as this is a different proposition. Whilst containing J'Ouvert and Trinidad & Tobago these are not the full on pumpers that featured on the 12. The sound here is a little more cocktail. There are a couple of numbers that do have a slight whiff of 70's cruise liner bar cheese. That said, this is largely the sound that Dimitri From Paris was pushing a little while back. The 'Cocktail Disco' label summing up a certain smoothness and sophistication when it rises above the more loungey elements.
Trinidad and Tobago has the disco flavour at its core, but is bookended by laid back island melodies. A cover of Shaft takes the inner city detective to the beach. J'Ouvert has a laid back soulful vibe in its album version. All good stuff. The weaker tracks, Brazil is a particularly whiffy moment. I just couldn't shake visions of a Columbo episode set on board a cruise ship in which Robert Vaughan kills the singer in the cabaret. All that aside though, a lovely album.
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