First the good: They have almost perfectly nailed the late 1960s - early 1970s funk/jazz fusion sound with bass, guitar, eclectic percussion, big horns with a bright spacious reverb that reminds me of classic Stax sessions, and basic old-school mixing techniques. Sounds like it could be background music from an old Blaxploitation movie.
Now the bad: I love this kind of groove/funk/soul stuff, and I wanted to give it five stars like everybody else... but ... This album sounds like background music from an old Blaxploitation movie. Emphasis on the word BACKGROUND. Track after track, the Budos Band lays down a really sweet-sounding bed and then does nothing with it. Each song is built around a basic musical phrase. After you hear the repeated phrase a couple of times, you start thinking "okay, now do something with it." You want to hear a solo or a melodic change or a drum break or something, but the band never adds any punctuation and the song ends up being an underscore that never quite pays off.
To be fair, not all the songs are like this. There are 4 tracks I liked, but 4 out of 11 is less than 50%.
And then there's the organ. I find no fault with Mike Deller's playing; he did the best he could with what he had. It's just that the organ itself sounds like crap. It's a thin, wimpy synth imitation of a Hammond (I myself have long suffered the heartbreak of playing an inadequate organ synth; it's hard to find one that sounds good these days.) Compounding the organ's inherent deficiency is the fact that apparently it was plugged straight into the board, because it has no reverb and sounds almost like it came from somewhere else .. floating on top of the mix and just not belonging there. It was heart-breaking to hear that cheesy organ slapped down on top of the big, ballsy horn section. Just didn't work for me. Thankfully the organ was not prominent on most tracks on the album.
Still, for the price this is a pretty okay album. I've heard a lot worse. I just feel like the Budos Band could do a lot better ... In fact, I know they do, because i also got Budos II, which I more highly recommend.