Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Rasputin's Stash ‎– Rasputin's Stash (1971)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Atlantic, Cotillion, Rhino Records

01.   Your Love Is Certified
02.   I'd Like To Know You Better
03.   What's On Your Mind
04.   Take Me On Back
05.   Mr. Cool
06.   You Better Think
07.   Freaks Prayer
08.   Prelude
09.   Dookey Shoe
10.   You Are My Flower
11.   I Want To Say You're Welcome
12.   Epilogue

Reeds – James Whitfield
Bass, Vocals – Bruce Butler
Brass – Wardell Peel
Congas, Percussion – Norval Taylor
Drums, Percussion – Frank Donaldson
Keyboards, Vocals – Paul Coleman, Vincent Willis
Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Martin Dumas, Jr.
Strings, Arranged By – Vincent Willis
Horns, Arranged By – Howie Albert, Rasputin's Stash, Ron Albert
Arranged By, Producer – Andy Pappas, Howie Albert, Rasputin's Stash, Ron Albert

Chicago soul brothers Rasputin's Stash didn't hit the big time, but their quality funk deserves to be resurrected and enjoyed by future generations. What the band lacks in imaginative vocal styling, they more than make up for with instrumental prowess. Rasputin's Stash plays with a perfect combination of street-smart grit, professional level chops, and drug-savvy freakiness, rocking a funk that has proven popular with latter-day beat samplers. "Your Love Is Certified" leads off the debut, and it's the strongest cut, undeniable dancefloor bait with countrified slide guitar and a bracing horn arrangement. Keyboardist Vincent Willis wrote the tune and takes lead vocals, delivering silly lyrics like "Hey baby, when you come to me/I don't worry, 'cause it's C.O.D." with conviction, and it should have been a hit. The rest of the LP gets more progressive, surveying territory similar to what fellow travelers Funkadelic were exploring at the time (though without the sheer abandon of that amazing combo). "What's on Your Mind," "You Better Think," and "I Want to Say You're Welcome" are energetic pieces with great ensemble playing, but while quieter numbers like "Take Me Back" and "You Are My Flower" are well built, the lyrics and vocal performances are a bit banal. The tracks with the most personality are a pair of hamhock-funky character studies that drip with greasy charm. After a brief spoken introduction from two jive cats sucking noisily on a joint, "Mr. Cool" slides in slow like the baddest pimp in the pool hall. Our hero brags about making it with "the president's old lady," displays his dark shades and white car, then claims to have been the first man on the moon. The chorus is marked with the declaration, "No jive/Gimme five," followed by an audible slap (later borrowed for the Beck song "High Five"). "Dookey Shoe" is more of the same, except this time the singer is preoccupied with his irresistible appeal to the women, being as he is a "nasty, nasty man" with a "dirty, funky plan in my hand." The camp factor of these tunes has grown over the years, but Rasputin's Stash was clearly out for laughs in the first place. There's a lot for serious funk mavens to play with in these grooves, and afro fetishists will probably want to buy a frame for the cover.
Fred Beldin / AllMusic