Sunday, October 10, 2021

“Hang Loose” by Mandrill

In 1973, Brooklyn groove outfit Mandrill scored their third hit with the eruptive funk jam “Hang Loose.” The dynamic track showcases the band's formidable musicianship. Fudgie Kae ignites the groove with a killer bass line, and the badass horn section serves up some potent brass funk. The kinetic percussion work and tight rhythm guitar riffs significantly enhance the song's groove quotient. Things shift from urgent hard-hitting funk to smoldering Latin jazz-rock on the instrumental bridge, which features a superb solo from guitarist Omar Mesa. Not to be outdone, Claude “Coffee” Cave lets loose with a scorching organ solo when the band returns to the main groove. 

The song touches on the daily struggle for survival in America, especially for those who live in distressed urban areas, and how this constant struggle places people at odds with one another, which begets violence and other crimes among those in the community.  “Hang Loose” calls for unity and peace and for people to respect one another.

“Hang Loose,” written by Cave, was a single from Mandrill’s third album Composite Truth (1973), released on Polydor Records. The song peaked at #25 on Billboard’s R&B single chart and #83 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The album also contains the band’s biggest hit “Fencewalk” (#19 R&B chart, #52 pop chart). The collection was produced by Alfred V. Brown and Mandrill.

The full band lineup for Composite Truth was Frederick “Fudgie Kae” Solomon (bass, acoustic guitar, percussion, vocals); Neftali Santiago (drums, vocals); Omar Mesa (lead guitar, percussion, vocals); Claude “Coffee” Cave (keyboards, vibraphone, percussion, vocals); Dr. Ricardo Wilson, aka “Doc Ric” (tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, percussion, vocals), Carlos Wilson (trombone, flute, alto saxophone, guitar, timbales, drums, percussion, vocals); Louis “Sweet Lou” Wilson (trumpet, congas, percussion, vocals).

Related blog entry: "Fencewalk" by Mandrill

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