I was a bit skeptical about buying this collection because I'm not a huge fan of these Westbound two for one reissues. In order to get a good album you usually have to buy a wack one in the process (as is the case with reissues from the Detriot Emeralds and Fantastic Four). King Errisson's two for one reissue is one of the few that's consistently good from start to finish.
Even though his stay with the label was brief, he did turn a couple of solid albums with "Magic Man" and "L.A. Bound". It's plently on these two album for crate diggers, funk fiends, disco lovers and samplers to enjoy.
THE MAGIC MAN;
The Magic Man is King Errisson's debut produced by one of my favorite Production teams of the time (Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey). The music is stripped down and funky with a even amount of originals and covers. Standouts include The witty title track and the campy but entertaining "Back from the Dead". There's two cover songs worth mentioning; They take the Ohio Players "Sleep talk" and truly make it their own by creating a fresh arrangment and melodies( it sounds nothing like the Players version). The taker is is their cover of Junie's "Tightrope". Unlike the original sped up version, K.E. and Co. slow the song to a funkier crawl where the bass jumps out and bite ya (it beats Junie's version into submission). Everyday's a Holiday is a nice little radio friendly song. and Conga Man is a nice jungled style groove. The whole album is great but, with the songs being short, it doesn't gives Master Errisson enough space to showcase his precussive prowess. You can tell he was gunnin' for hits with "Magic Man" but, he did so at the expense of undermining his strengths on the precussion. It's a good album nonetheless. It may not be the choiciest of funk albums to come out from the 70's, but there's enough stank contained within to keep the funkfiends satisfied.
Errisson's lack of input on the "Magic Man" is corrected here. The fact that the material is also a bit more consistent and based exclusively on originals, makes it a slighly better record than "Magic Man". L.A. Bound kicks off with the lovely "Disco Congo" which truly emphasize Errisson's Bahamian roots. That track is cool but it doesn't hold a candle to the goergous "Manhattan Love Song" (One of Mike and Dennis best production moments). The song has the feel of an anthem and would've sounded at home at Studio 54 (If I was Steve Rubell and heard this, I would've at least told the DJ's to keep it on their playlists). There's also a lot of breakdown sections that's worth repeated plays and you can really hear Errisson do his stuff and show you why he was Dave Axelord's number one choice for a precussionist. Then there's the other track that disco lovers treasure from this album, "Well, have a nice day" which contains some well written lyrics by Cleaveland Horne (Fantastic Four) and a dead on delivery from Charles Clark (Cj& Co). the track is a smooth slice of disco funk which follows the same formula as the other songs with breakdown sections and and an emphasis on precussion. The title track and "Salsoul sister" may not reach the hieghts of the other three tracks but they're still impressive. Overall L.A. Bound is a King Errisson's best album from Westbound. Mike and Dennis production style along with Tom Moulton's mixin' doubles the pleasure behind the mixin' board.
WRAPIN' IT UP;
This one of Westbound strongest two for ones. Each album may be different but paired together, you get a lot of great music. There's enough in here to make it worth havin' in your collection. All Ace Records need to do now is get permission to put out the three Dennis Coffey albums released on Westbound (Finger Lickin' Good, Back Home, and A Sweet Taste of Sin). I'm want to finally hear "Wings of Fire" and get a "full reproduction" of the front cover of "Finger Lickin Good"- one of sleaziest album covers ever!