The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson 1972
Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label. That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint. Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘), to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’). Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns. Unfortunately, the absence of a singer clearly limited their audience. Still, it’s one of the better releases on the Invictus/Hot Wax roster.
A1 Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic 3:48
A2 The World We Live in 4:21
A3 Church 3:15
A4 Free Your Mind 2:50
A5 Everything Good Is Bad 4:14
B1 A Song for You 4:34
B2 Speak on It 5:40
B3 Funky Toes 4:04
B4 Politicians Theme 2:59
B5 Close Your Big Mouth 3:07
Review by Soulmakossa
Trombonist McKinley Jackson joined Motown-defectors Lamont Dozier and the Holland brothers in 1970. He became the frontman leading the houseband that would pump out backing tracks for the newly formed Invictus/Hot Wax label. The Politicians, as the band was titled, recorded all over the place behind a host of artists, and released just one album sporting their own name. But what a record they made.
In sync with Norman Whitfield’s iconoclasm over at Motown, “Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic” is a chaotic mixture of fuzzed and distorted rock sounds and jungle funk. “The World We Live In” keeps up the trippy vibe: a fatback groover spotlighting Zachary Slater’s in-the-pocket drumming. Neat effects include a whiney synth-like siren and what sound like the lashes of an electrifide whip.
“Church” is somewhat more sane, still riding a chugging, deep groove, but the xylophone adds a bit of sweetness not heard elsewhere here.
The best track (and the sole hit for the group), “Free Your Mind” stands out for its indescribably catchy guitar leit motif, a wah-wah’d lick that may well be the funkiest ever waxed. Labelmates 8th Day used the backing track for their B-side “Freedom Is Instrumental”.
Likewise, another Invictus group, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, took the music of the intensely funky instrumental “Everything Good Is Bad” to the #15 R&B spot by adding a set of mildly political lyrics.
“Speak On It” picks up the groove again, driving an incessant, thick rhythm that keeps building up until it reaches the horn-filled climax. Features some strings, but tastefully.
Bluesy guitar kicks off “Funky Toes“, which is drenched in both the oozing, liquid notes from the clavinet as well as back-to-the-roots barrelhouse boogie piano.
The “Politicians Theme” comes off a bit tame compared to the other selections here, but all is redeemed with the incredible closing number “Close Your Big Mouth“: a greasy strutter featuring some of the zaniest, hardest, funkiest trumpet riffs on the outro that I have ever heard.
Essential instru-funk, here.