Saturday, August 4, 2012

K-Tel Goes Blaxploitation With "Super Bad"---this month on Adventures in Vinyl

The album cover has a gritty, urban look.  It resembles a graffitied wall with "Super Bad" apparently spray-painted across the cover.

Yes, this is K-Tel's foray into the realm of blaxploitation.

The songs are soul and funk classics---mainstream music, really.  Nothing unusual there.  However, the album is not necessarily only about the is about an image.  Released in 1973 at the hight of the popularity of blaxploitation cinema, K-Tel is clearly trying to capture a certain "image" about the music.  Gone is the shouting white announcer in the commercial and in his place is a deep-voiced African-American DJ who extolls the songs as "soul-sational."

This is a surprisingly good album.  And, unlike many K-Tel compilations that tend to focus more on the current hits of the day, this album has songs that span four years.  So what you have is a great sampling of music from the soul and funk genre of the early 70s.  There's James Brown, of course.  Pure soul.  Then there's some great funk in Isaac Hayes (the theme from Shaft.  You can't have an album called "Super Bad" without it) and Joe Tex.  There's also some great soul with the Staple Singers and The Main Ingredient.

In the end, you have an album that purports to be "super bad," but is really just a great compilation of funk and soul classics, packaged in a way that mirrors what hollywood was doing in regards to the blaxpoitation film.

Overall, this is more than a compilation album.  It is a concept album.

Super Bad is the featured album this month on Adventures in Vinyl---the only radio show dedicated to the K-Tel compilation album.  Catch Adventures in Vinyl at the following times (all times Central):

11:00 am Saturday
4:00 pm   Sunday
1:00 pm  Tuesday
2:00 am  Wednesday
10:00 am Thursday

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