Sounds Of The City Experience

Sounds Of The City Experience

American funk/soul group.

The Bronx, New York City-based funk/soul group, who recorded just one eponymous album as part of infamous tax-dodging label Tiger Lily Records, ran by Morris Levy. Their name "Sounds Of The City Experience" captured exactly what it says on the tin; The Bronx 1970s, everyday hustle and bustle, sweetness and struggle.

The album encapsulates the sound of late-1960s US soul, early 1970s modern soul, funk, and disco, and instead of the handfuls of copies most releases on the Tiger Lily label originally received, would likely have been a success had it been afforded an actual proper release. Although most of the vocal duties are undertaken by women, the cover is misleading as they were not a girl vocal group at all, but rather a well drilled, mostly all male band that had been together for a few years before Levy came along. They previously had recording under the artist name Flypaper, with at least three of the tracks previously released on 7"s under that name on their own label Sounds Of The City, being included on this album. When they cut the deal, they had enough music recorded to fill an album, and according to band leader Mario E. Sprouse, they knew exactly what they were signing-up to, intending to use the album as a 'calling card' to get gigs and hopefully attract further interest from genuine labels. Alas, that wasn't to be.

The album itself opens with its Blaxploitation soundtrack opus "Getting Down", possibly a classic of its time, full of choppy rhythm guitars, screeching horns, and drums to match. The rest of the album is not as high in standard, but does feature further ear-catching vocals and arrangements, matched with decent musicianship throughout, making for faultless, really tight, grooves.

Other interesting tracks include the sublime doo-wop inspired downtempo track "Through No Fault of Our Own", featuring gorgeous female vocals, much like "Come And Stay With Me" being silky smooth soul. "It's So Wonderful Baby / Gina" is a perfect Salsoul-esque boogie disco track. The accompaniment to the frenetic opening cut is contained within the chaotic funk of "Judgement Day" (as opposed to the, literally everyday, "Reality"), and there's the Hammond organ-grinder of a track in "Stuff N' Thing".

Given the history of the group and the label's 'usage' for the record, the self produced/financed recording session, as others of it's type, often gets a messy production, but overall the sound is very good, and thanks to Gerald Short of Jazzman Records, even received a clean digitally restoration from the original master tapes.