Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun (Rare Soul Funk US 1972)

Size: 142 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

It's Just Begun is the second album by the Jimmy Castor Bunch, released in 1972 on RCA Records. "It's Just Begun" and "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" have each become staples in hip-hop sampling. Songs from the album have been sampled more than twenty-five times.

This 1972 outing set the tone for the Jimmy Castor Bunch's 1970s success through an effective and distinctive mix of funk, pop hooks, social commentary, and gonzo comedy. It's Just Begun also helped the group score a million-selling crossover hit single with "Troglodyte." This memorably whacked-out funk jam is built on an infectious fuzz-guitar hook and features Castor detailing the romantic adventures of a caveman who meets up with Bertha Butt, a comic character that would continue to appear on his albums for many years to come. 

The album also included a b-boy favorite in its title track, a salsa-inflected funk excursion whose breakbeats continued to be spun by DJs well into the 1980s. Beyond these favorites, the group knocks out a relentless stream of thick, funky grooves as Jimmy Castor tackles everything from morality ("You Better Be Good (Or the Devil Gon' Getcha)") to philosophy ("L.T.D.," which stands for life, truth, and death). To add variety, Castor also throws in "My Brightest Day," a sweet, horn-accented ballad, and "I Promise to Remember," an updated slice of doo wop that Castor originally penned for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. 

The album's all-things-to-all-people sense of ambition occasionally overwhelms the final product: for instance, "Creation," the dissonant orchestral instrumental that bookends the album, doesn't really have any reason to be there. Despite these quibbles, It's Just Begun is an important and influential release from a sadly underrated group and well worth a listen for anyone interested in the roots of 1970s funk.

James Walter "Jimmy" Castor (January 23, 1940 – January 16, 2012) was an American pop and funk musician. He is best known as a fun disco/funk saxophonist, with his biggest hit single being 1972's million seller, "Troglodyte (Cave Man)".

The Jimmy Castor Bunch - German Single 1972
As leader of The Jimmy Castor Bunch in the 1970s, and also as a solo artist, he released several successful albums and singles. The group reached the peak of their commercial success in 1972 with the release of their album, It's Just Begun, which featured two hit singles: the title track and "Troglodyte (Cave Man)," which was a large hit in the U.S., peaking at #6 in the Billboard Hot 100. The track stayed in the chart for 14 weeks and was a million seller by June 30, 1972, and received a gold disc award from the R.I.A.A.

The Castor band included keyboardist/trumpeter Gerry Thomas, bassist Doug Gibson, guitarist Harry Jensen, conga player Lenny Fridle, Jr., and drummer Bobby Manigault. Thomas, who simultaneously recorded with the Fatback Band, left in the 1980s to exclusively record with them.

Many of the group's tunes have been heavily sampled in films and in hip-hop. In particular, the saxophone hook and groove from "It's Just Begun" and the spoken word intro and groove from "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" (namely, "What we're gonna do right here is go back...") have been sampled extensively.

"Phase Two" Biography by AMG: After scoring success on both the pop and R&B charts in 1972 with It's Just Begun, the Jimmy Castor Bunch knocked out another album in the same vein before the year ended. Phase Two adheres closely to the previous album's formula, right down to using an orchestral instrumental for its intro and epilogue. As a result, parts of it feel like a re-tread: the standout example of this problem is "Luther the Anthropoid (Ape Man)," which sports a nice groove but is a merely a thinly veiled rewrite of "Troglodyte." 

The Jimmy Castor Bunch - US Single June 1970
Despite some uninspired moments like this, Phase Two makes up for the problem with tight arrangements and an infectiously funky performance from the band. " "Say Leroy (The Creature From the Black Lagoon Is Your Father)" mixes Latin rock with frenzied funk-rock breaks to create a punchy tune that gave the band another pop hit and "When?" is an effective, fuzz guitar-drenched trip through the woes of ghetto life. The most unusual and interesting of these cuts is "Tribute to Jimi: Purple Haze/Foxy Lady," a novel medley that layers the vocal melody and lyrics of "Foxy Lady" over the tune of "Purple Haze." 

The album also does well in its softer moments: "Paradise" is a pleasantly harmonized ballad and the band's saxophone-led instrumental take on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is quite pretty. Overall, Phase Two lacks the strong crossover appeal and original material that made It's Just Begun such a standout album, but it will definitely appeal to fans of that album.

He died in January 16, 2012 from heart failure,  seven days before his 72nd birthday.

Jimmy Castor - Saxophone, Timbales, Vocals
 Doug Gibson - Bass, Backing Vocals
 Harry Jensen - Guitar
 Lenny Fridie, Jr. - Congas
 Gerry Thomas - Trumpet, Piano

01. "Creation (Prologue)" 1:34
02. "It's Just Begun" 3:43
03. "Troglodyte (Cave Man)" 3:36
04. "You Better Be Good (Or the Devil Gon' Getcha)" 2:56
05. "Psyche" 4:25
06. "L.T.D. (Life, Truth, and Death)" 7:20
07. "My Brightest Day" 4:03
08. "Bad" 3:04
09. "I Promise to Remember" 2:47
10. "Creation (Epilogue)" 1:02

Bonus Tracks (3:rd Album "Phase Two" also releaseed 1972)
11. "Fanfare (Prologue)" 0:24
12  "Say Leroy" (The Creature From the Black Lagoon Is Your Father) 6:39
13. "Luther the Antropoid (Ape Man)" 3:20
14. "Party Life" 7:42
15. "When" 4:31
16. "Paradise" 2:48
17. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" 6:25
18. "Tribute to Jimi - Purple Haze, Foxy Lady" 3:46
19. "Fanfare (Epilogue)" 0:37

1. Link
2. Link


Magic Kaic's Music said...

I didn't know at all this band and these 2 records, thanks for repairing this mistake.

Anonymous said...

Back home after a long holiday, I was glad to find a lot of great posts.A long time since I had been able to listen to Troglodyte.

Anonymous said...

Troglodyte is the baddest funk groove of all time! Psyche and LTD are amazing Latin soul grooves, even Killing Me Softly shines as a soul-jazz sax workout (Castor was an impressive saxophonist). Delete some of the lesser tracks (the George Martin-style orchestral cues are annoying)and you end up with about 12 killer tracks. I guess inconsistent is the word here... thanks Chris.

Tiago Webber said...

All the links are dead. Reupload please.