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B.T. Express: Function at the Junction + 1 [Japan]

Album Notes

When lead vocalist Barbara Joyce left B.T. Express after its third album, Energy to Burn, the Brooklyn combo didn't search for another female singer -- instead, it decided to carry on as an all-male outfit. Joyce was an appealing, talented singer, but losing her was hardly a fatal blow for B.T. Express. Unlike the Commodores, L.T.D., or Earth, Wind & Fire, B.T. Express never went out of its way to push a superstar vocalist -- its 1970s albums were about the overall sound of the band, not any particular singer. Function at the Junction was B.T. Express' first post-Joyce LP, but it isn't much different from the New Yorkers' three previous albums. With Jeff Lane (the guy who produced Brass Construction in the 1970s) producing, B.T. Express continue to mine the same funk-disco waters on club-friendly tracks like "Expose Yourself," "We Got It Together," and "Funky Music." Overall, this is a decent record, although it is mildly uneven and falls short of the excellence of B.T. Express' previous releases. And that isn't because of Joyce's departure; Columbia was bringing in more and more outside songwriters, which made its post-1976 albums inconsistent and less focused. Columbia assumed that those outside songwriters would be an asset, but they turned out to be something of a distraction. Nonetheless, Function at the Junction has more pluses than minuses, and is worth hearing if you're among B.T. Express' hardcore fans. ~ Alex Henderson


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