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B.T. Express: Shout!

Album Notes

If you notice some similarities between B.T. Express and Brass Construction, it's no coincidence. B.T. Express was a major influence on Brass Construction, and the same guy who produced all of Brass Construction's 1970s albums (Jeff Lane) also produced B.T. Express' first four albums: 1974's Do It ('Til You're Satisfied), 1975's Non-Stop, 1976's Energy to Burn, and 1977's Function at the Junction. Released in 1978, Shout! was the first B.T. Express album that Lane didn't produce. Instead, B.T. Express produced this LP with guitarist/songwriter Billy Nichols, who wasn't an actual member but had been writing songs for the band since 1974. It was Nichols who wrote B.T. Express' first major hit, "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)." So he had a strong feeling for its music, and Shout! (which was Kashif's last album with the band) isn't a radical departure from the four B.T. Express albums that Lane produced. However, this is an uneven, disappointing record. "Shout It Out" (which reached number 11 on Billboard's R&B singles chart) is a funk-disco gem, and the sociopolitical "Look at the People" is a catchy message song. But much of the material is merely average. Tracks like "Shake It Off," "I Want You With Me," and "You Got Something" aren't terribly inspired or memorable, and point to the fact that B.T. Express was running out of steam in 1978. So not surprisingly, a lot of people who bought the "Shout It Out" single opted to pass on the Shout! LP, which is strictly for completists. ~ Alex Henderson


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