Work It Out - Baxtop
All songs composed by Larry Amos except 'Jody Babe' by
- Jo Bangles
- Take Me Into Your Heart
- It Depends
- Dr Watson
- Golden Highway
- Work It Out
- Night Time Train
- Song With No Name
Bonus tracks on CD:
- Jody Babe
- Just Turned 20
JJ Cale, 'Sherriff' and 'Just Turned 20' by Baxtop.
- Larry Amos: Vocals, lead, acoustic & slide guitars
- Tim Parr: Guitars, backing vocals see EllaMental
- Fuzzy Marcus: Bass, vocals, harmonica see Tribe After Tribe
- Bruce Williams: Drums, percussion, pinao, keyboards, vocals see Tribe After Tribe
Produced by Greg Cutler and Baxtop
Engineered and Mixed by Greg Cutler
LP: 1979, WEA, AUC9000
CD: 1993, Tusk, WOND 117 (titled 'Baxtop')
Originally released in 1979 as 'Work It Out'. Reissued on CD in 1993 by Benjy Mudie with bonus tracks.
A short introduction that could easily have dripped from Chic's Nile Rodger's guitar then BAM! you're into the slickest, funkiest piece of music ever to emanate from the tip of Africa, or most places on the globe, for that matter. With it's wicked bass line, tight production and outstanding vocals, "Jo Bangles" is a track designed to be played loud. When I first heard this, I was stunned and completely hooked and nearly wore out the tape playing this track.
After this, the album mellows out, but never loses it's sheen. Larry Amos' vocals are unequalled by any South African male artist I have heard. Soul, blues and rock flow from his vocal cords with ease.
Then there's the guitar work. They can do funk (Jo Bangles), blues (Foxey), rock, (Golden Highway), country (Take me into your heart), Eric Clapton (Dr Watson), George Benson (Dr Watson again). It all seems to flow. These guys are masters of their instruments.
"Dr Watson" is an epic track, starting out with a soulful sound that could have been included on Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On", gets rockier, slides back to soul then features a brilliant George Benson-esque scat/guitar section before finally easing back into Marvin mode.
"Golden Highway" has a "Born to be Wild" feel to it with a great guitar work out and really rocks along. While "Foxey" is a Clapton-esque laid back blues number. "Night Time" continues in the same vein and could have come off Clapton's "Unplugged" album. "Train" features a harmonica solo Stevie Wonder would have been proud of and rock 'n roll is the name of the game here. "Song with No Name" is an instrumental that is bluesey and funky. The extra tracks on the CD "Jody Babe" and "Just Turned 20" are hardcore funk numbers reminiscent of Sly & the Family Stone.
I have made a lot of comparisons in this review, but as you will notice they are all to legends. This album is the slickest, chic-est funksoulblues album I've ever heard. A truly spectacular offering and I think that any of the artists mentioned above would have been proud to work with this talented bunch of guys had they even had the privilege to hear them. Highly recommended.
-- John Samson, August 2000
The one thing about Baxtop that really upsets me is that I was too young to appreciate them when they won that Battle of the Bands in the late 70s. All I can remember is Larry Amos's over-the-top afro and him singing "There's a mama, Jo Bangles".
Nevertheless this memory had a lasting effect on me. Every now and then Rafe Levine would play a track from their album - and it always floored me. I vowed that if the album ever came out on CD I would not hesitate - I would buy. The album itself is just totally brilliant. Larry and Tim were a combination of Lynyrd Skynyrd (I would say that they out-Skynyrd, Skynyrd) and Thin Lizzy, a guitar power house that never competed with one another. In my humble opinion Baxtop was one of the finest bands ever.
In the early Nineties they had a couple of re-union concerts at the Tandoor in Rockey Street. The first gig was amazing - the band was as tight as ever and Tim and Larry shone. I vowed at that point that I would learn that beatiful intro solo to Foxey (I've got about 50% of it down). Tim declined the offer to play Dr Watson because he said they couldn't remember it (I would have lent them my CD if they wanted to learn it).
But the second gig!!! Outrageous!!!! Once again the band performed at the Tandoor and the house was packed. The opening band played a couple of Peter Green covers - I think Tim played in this band. For those who are interested Peter Green is very alive and very well and available at www.petergreen.com (is anybody interested in trying to get him out here - I certainly am).
And then Baxtop came on - they were as tight as ever playing all the old numbers off the album as well as a couple of blues standards - with Larry's pseudo-American humour punctuating each tune. I don't remember them playing Dr Watson (although they did do this song on the 94.7 broadcast - a very disappointing gig), but Foxey once again stood out.And then Shawn Phillips arrives and picks up Tim's "Stratelecaster" and did a cover of Chuck Berry's "Too much monkey business". The crowd went wild.
I got all that for about R15!!! I would have paid ten times that.
I think we have the finest musicians in the world here - and I still think that Baxtop is the best band I have ever seen live.Perhaps we will see them perform again - I certainly hope so.
-- Paul Janisch, June 1999
This is but one holy and unrecognised individual in the annals of RSA music. If I could, I would rate him as one of the greater axe muso's I've ever encountered and this opinion doesn't come lightly either - having seen, heard and photographed the best there is - and I mean this globally. Yes, Amos was indiffident, difficult, deferal, unapproachable, bloody rude and poisoness to boot, but shit, he was good.
-- Rogan Coles, July 1999
South Africa's Rock Classics
South Africa's Rock Legends