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Mandrill: Fencewalk: The Anthology

While groups like Sly, James Brown and P-Funk have gotten more than their share of well-deserved praise in the retro-funk era, they didn’t-needless to say-corner the market on platform shoes-era artistry. Mandrill, for example, made a number of under-recognized contributions to the canon, earning a reputation as one of the genre’s heaviest outfits in the process. A word to anyone who passes on the two-disc Fencewalk:The Anthology (Polydor 31452 9666-2 78:28, 77:56): you’re missing out. It takes more than your share of chops to follow Earth Wind and Fire and P-Funk, as Mandrill was known to do. And Mandrill had them to burn; the group’s often eye-opening stylistic range remains one of the most overlooked high points of funk’s golden era. From percussion heavy African and Afro Cuban rhythmatism, (“Kofijahm”), to joint-damaging uptown funk (“Hang Loose,” “Fencewalk,” “Ape Is High”) to proto jazz-fusion, Mandrill did it all; if you aren’t hip to them, here’s your chance to get with it.

Originally Published