Monday, December 22, 2008

Plunky & Oneness of Juju: Make a Change

1980's Make a Change marks the completion of the transition Plunky Branch was making from avant-jazz (as was the case on his early 1970s band Juju) to radio-friendly R&B and funk. That's not to say that there aren't some jazzy moments, but the jazz takes a back seat on this outing. The title track even manages to work in some reggae influences. The track "Every Way But Loose" would become a minor hit in the clubs and on the R&B charts in 1982, and sends the message that in addition to becoming more aware, these cats want to make you partay! "Run Away Bay" and "Love's Wonderland" would be considered "smooth jazz" today. Many of the tracks remind me of what bands like Earth Wind & Fire were doing at the time. Jazz purists won't groove on this, but those who don't mind exploring something with an R&B edge will find plenty to love.

Plunky Branch - Horns, Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax, Flute, Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Muzi Branch - Bass, Background Vocals, Handclaps, Percussion
Ras Mel Glover Jr. - Lead Rhythm Guitars
Virtania "Cookie" Tillery - Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Kevin Davis - Drums, Conga Drums, Timbales
Weldon Hill - Piano, Fender Rhodes, Synthesizers, Organ
Marcus Macklin - Rhythm Guitar
Eka Ete Jackie Lewis - Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Okyerema Asante - Talking Drums
Judy Spears - Background Vocals
Veronica "Nilaya" Jones - Background Vocals
William "Bill" Joyner - Piano, Clavinet

1. Make A Change
2. Run Away Bay
3. Love's Wonderland
4. Every Way But Loose
5. Higher
6. Always Have To Say Good-Bye

From the liner notes:
The Oneness of Juju speaks of the unity of our magic, the togetherness of our purpose and the universality of our roots.

This music bridges several groupings who have performed as a family making changes, collectively creating music.

This album is dedicated to all those who have given themselves to make and/or support this music.

Thank you all, Plunky
Recorded at Omega Studios, Kensington, MD. Released on Black Fire Records, catalogue # BF19811).

This album would be re-released two years later on Sutra as Every Way But Loose, with a different track sequence, and an instrumental version of the title track added.

Download Make a Change