Brother To Brother – 1976 – Let Your Mind Be Free

A pretty decent funk effort, though it’s actually the lush ‘n’ dreamy ballad “Visions” that I’d rate as the stand out track here. But yeah, stuff like “Let Your Mind Be Free“, “Chance With You” and the joyful “Groovy Day” recall a sorta stripped down, less eccentric P-Funk or early Kool & The Gang. The album is rounded out with some synth led instrumental cuts.

Let Your Mind Be Free is a competent but uneven funk/soul outing from 1976. Although nothing mind-blowing occurs, the band’s sound is a likable, if undeveloped, mixture of Sly Stone, the Ohio Players, and the pre-J.T. Taylor Kool & the Gang. “Leavin’ Me“, the single “Chance With You” and the title track are gritty funk numbers, while the jazzy, hypnotic “Visions” would please the acid jazz crowd. And “Take My Love“, which Brother to Brother guitarist Billy Jones co-wrote with Sylvia Robinson, is a decent northern soul item. “Chance With You” enjoyed some radio airplay, but even so, Let Your Mind Be Free didn’t go very far commercially. This LP has been out of print since the late ’70s, and it is most unlikely that the album will ever be reissued on CD.

Tracks
A1 Let Your Mind Be Free 3:28
A2 Visions 6:52
A3 Chance With You 4:46
A4 Phattenin‘3:28
B1 Groovy Day 2:54
B2 Take My Love 6:07
B3 Leavin’ Me 6:17
B4 Joni 3:15

By the 1975’s “Let Your Mind Be Free” was released singer/multi-instrumentalist Billy Jones was the only hold over from the previous album.  Again responsible for the majority of material, exemplified by the title track, ‘Chance with You’ and ”, this time around Jones seemed to take some of his creative cues from George Clinton and the Funkadelic/Parliament universe.  Those stylistic cues were actually a good match for Jones’ weird voice.  While the fund tracks were good, the album highlights actually came from other sources.  One of those highlights was the breezy, should’ve-been-a-hit ballad ‘Visions’.  The song sounded like Jones had copped the song from a War album. Equally nice were the bouncy, synthesizer propelled instrumental ‘Phattenin’ and the radio friendly ‘Groovy Day’.  Turbo also tapped the album for a pair of singles:

– 1976’s ‘Let Your Mind Be Free‘ (vocal) b/w ‘Let Your Mind Be Free’ (instrumental) (Turbo catalog number TU-045)

– 1976’s ‘Chance with You‘ b/w ‘Joni‘ (Turbo catalog number TU-048)

Just my opinion, but this one’s far more consistent and enjoyable than “In the Bottle“.

 


Bonus

Brother To Brother ‎- 1977 – Shades In Creation

Not the greatest album by this East Coast funk band – and one that shows them hitting a bit more of a crossover club sound, with lots of up-tempo funk tracks that kind of aim for a disco groove. Fortunately, the instrumentation’s pretty good – and the album actually has some nice mellow grooves with a decent enough jazzy feel. 

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