LP
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Limited re-press

The Counts formed in Michigan in 1964 as the Fabulous Counts, releasing two singles, ‘Jan Jan’ and ‘Get Down People’ on the Moira label in 1968 and 1969 that became R&B chart hits. This led to the album “Jan Jan”, issued by Cotillion in 1969.

Snapped up by Westbound, the line-up that recorded What’s Up Front That Counts included Mose Davis (Organ), Leroy Emmanuel (guitar), Demetrius Cates (sax) and Andrew Gibson (drums). Although tenor player Jim White is on the front cover, he left the band shortly before the album was recorded. Extended, mostly instrumental tracks like ‘Why Not Start All Over Again’ and the title track are now recognized as some of the juiciest funk ever laid down in the studio. Shorter tracks like ‘Rhythm Changes’, ‘Thinking Single’ and ‘Bills’ are equally sweet. What gives the album such powerful musical chemistry was the fact that the Counts were jazz players weaned on the likes of Miles Davis who were also into the funk of James Brown and Sly and The Family Stone so every track features groove- driven interplay. One might argue this is the sound that Miles Davis was trying to find on his early 70s albums.

The Counts were to tour with Funkadelic and record more singles and albums but it is this 1971 offering that is, and remains, an all-time classic. Indeed, the track ‘What’s Up Front That Counts’ has been sampled by artists like Queen Latifah and Eric B and Rakim, keeping the music of the Counts firmly in the minds of a young contemporary audience.

Out of print on vinyl for nearly two decades, Ace is proud to reissue this beauty.

 

28/07/23

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