The Best Of Both Worlds – 1975 – I Want The World To Know
Review by RDTEN1
Short-lived Washington, D.C. based soul and funk outfit fronted by singer Winfield Parker. Prior to The Best of Both Worlds, Parker had accumulated a lengthy list of credentials as a sideman and as a solo act recording singles for a wide array of labels including Arctic, GSF, and Spring. In the mid-’70s he hooked up with drummer Ralph Fisher who had previously been in one of Parker’s touring bands.
The band eventually attracted the attention of Washington, D.C. based promoter Clayton Roberts. Roberts in turn helped the band get signed by Nate McCalla’s New York-base Calla Records. Co-produced by Roberts and Al Johnson, 1975’s “I Want the World To Know” offered up a decent mixture of “love man” ballads (‘I Want the World To Know‘), James brown-styled funk numbers (‘Broad Jumping‘), and more commercial funk (‘50 – 50‘). To be totally objective, nothing here was particularly original, or awe inspiring, but Parker had a nice voice that proved quite impressive on the up-tempo material and occasionally reminded me of Robert Cray (‘invisible Flowers‘). Showcasing the ensemble’s tight playing, highlights included ‘Invisible Flowers’, the blazing ‘50-50‘ and the the funky ‘Mama Bakes Biscuits‘. As an aside, I’ve always wondered about it, but all ten tracks were credited to Robert E. Lee Jr. He wasn’t a member of the band; he wasn’t mentioned in the brief liner notes and I have no idea who the guy was.
A1 Anyway The Wind Blows 2:21
A2 Broad Jumping 2:52
A3 I Want The World To Know 4:24
A4 Invisible Flowers 2:59
A5 Greedy Green 2:46
B1 50-50 3:12
B2 Lost In A Shuffle Of Love 3:30
B3 Momma Bakes Bisquits 3:00
B4 Naked Truth 2:40
B5 Theme From I Want The World To Know 3:56
“Broad Jumping” : Admittedly Parker was no James Brown, but with energetic support from the rest of the band, these guys actually managed to carve out a more than decent Brown-styled slice of funk. Always smile when I hear the nod to B.T. Express “do it till your satisfied'”
Complete with irritating male-female spoken word vamp, ‘I Want the World To Know‘ was a horn-powered ballad that was simply way too slick for the group’s own good. Even though it was one of the least impressive performances on the album, Calla tapped it as a single.
“Invisible Flowers” opened up with sound effects featuring a moaning woman (shades of Donna Summer) and someone suckin’-on-a-doobie. Luckily the tune shitfed into a breezy funky tune that’s always reminded me a bit of a cross between Chris Isley and the rest of the Isley Brothers and Robert Cray. In spite of the irritating moans it’s one of my favorite tunes. Wonder if Parker includes this one in his current Gospel repertoire.
“Greedy Green” sounded like a throwaway jam intended to give the horns and drummer Ralph Fisher a shot at the spotlight. Nice Parker vocal, but overall the track was forgettable. Heavily orchestrated and showcasing some George Parish scratch guitar, ‘50-50‘ started out sounding almost like a disco tune, but then Parker’s rugged voice and the hysterical lyric kicked in shifted the song into funk territory. The brief math lesson was hysterical. Too many strings, but still enjoyable. Shame it faded out so early.
With Parker turning in his best “love man” performances, ‘Lost In a Shuffle of Love‘ was a pretty orchestrated ballad with catchy backing vocals. Would have made a nice radio single; certainly better than the title track. “Mama Bakes Biscuits” probably the album’s funkiest tune … Calla tapped the song as the ‘B’ side to the lone single. Propelled by some jazzy horns, “Naked Truth“had kind of a Blood, Sweat & Tears vibe going for it. (not necessarily a good thing). Parker didn’t seem all that comfortable on this frenetic tune, though Parish turned in his best guitar solo.
The album spun off one quickly forgotten single: 1975’s ‘I Want the World To Know’ b/w ‘Mama Makes Biscuits’ (Calla catalog number CA 5002)
The rhythm section split off and formed Both Worlds, without Winfield Parker and recorded the “Don’t’cha Hide it” album about two years later, which was released on TPI (Terry Philips International – label out of New York ).
The Don’t’cha Hide It album was released in late 1977 and was a Billboard “Recommended LP” at some point in January 1978.