Brother To Brother – Let Your Mind Be Free (1976) 24-bit

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Brother To Brother
Let Your Mind Be Free
Turbo Records (TU-7015)

A1 Let Your Mind Be Free 3:28
A2 Visions 6:52
A3 Chance With You     4:46
A4 Phattenin’     3:28
B1 Groovy Day   2:54
B2 Take My Love   6:07
B3 Leavin’ Me   6:17
B4 Joni   3:15

Ripping process
Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue
Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio
Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 96khz; Click
Repair light settings, sometimes turned off; individual clicks and pops
taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 – dithered and resampled using iZotope
RX Advanced (for 16-bit). Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and
Rename.

Bass Guitar – Jonathan Williams
Congas, Voice, Other [Special Thanks] – Craig Derry
Drums – Clarence Oliver
Orchestrated By – Sammy Lowe
Producer, Arranged By, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Clavinet, Organ, Voice – Billy Jones
Producer, Piano, Synthesizer [Moog, Arp], Clavinet – Bernadette Randle
Voice – Billy Brown, Joan Abbott, Linda Parker, Tommy Keith, Walter Morris

Design , album artwork – Dudley Thomas
Engineer – Allan Tucker, Richie Corsello
Other [Special Thanks] – “Shag” Taylor, Al Goodman, Barry Diament, Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Robinson

Recorded and mastered at Platinum Recording Studios, Englewood, New Jersey. All songs published by Gambi Music, Inc. (BMI)

A Division of All Platinum Record Group
Platinum Record Co. 1976

Doc Tucker
Yes, Billy Jones!!
[Etched “shout-outs” runout area A]


Bernadette Says Hi, Too
Tucker
[Etched “shout-outs” runout area B]

Imagine yourself walking into a decent-sized club in 1976 to catch a
Kool and The Gang show only to find out that the bus carrying the horn section was broken down on the highway a hundred miles away.  The band perseveres and puts on a great show anyway.  That imaginary scenario
is a little bit like what my first time listening to this record.  But
it’s an unfair characterization, because Brother To Brother does have
their own sound, and could really write some great tunes.  The lack of a horn section gives lots of room for
the other instruments.  In particular this is an analog keyboard-lovers
wet dream.  The band had two keyboard players (both of whom double on other instruments in this largely studio-based project), and there are lovely textures of Fender Rhodes coupled with
clavinet, Hammond organ, and even a dreamy Moog and Arp instrumental track.  The
band is tight and lean but never showy, and there are a few long tracks that
really stretch out, like the languid Latin-Soul of “Visions” and the
fired-up funk of “Leavin’ Me” which was apparently released as one of
the singles.

Why did these guys never make it big, or at least
bigger?  Well I don’t know much about them.  The group was based around multi-instrumentalists Billy Jones and Bernadette Randle.  Their only big hit was a cover
of Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Bottle”, which ended up on their debut album.  Their albums were released on
the Turbo imprint which was part of the Platinum family of labels founded
by Sylvia Robinson, who also gets a co-writing credit on the only ballad
here, “Take My Love.”  Platinum (sometimes known as “All Platinum”)
eventually folded but Robinson reemerged with the famous and seminal Sugar Hill Records.  In 1976, the music world was flooded with
funk, making these guys just a couple more fish in a big ocean.   I can testify that I have a lot of records with a few
great tunes on them but a lot of filler, yet this album doesn’t have any turkeys.  “Chance With You” should have been a hit song, and “Leavin’ Me” is a monster although its length would probably keep it off the radio.  And it gets better with repeated listens.
The only ballad on the album,
“Take My Love,” has a really nice vibe but could have used a bridge section to break up its
six-minute length.  I think that’s a pretty minor quibble, though, especially given the obligatory inclusion of questionable ballads on funk albums by this point.  The cluster of inverted chords in the progression gives this is a
nice midwestern-soul-jazz inflection.  I dig it.  The only other quibble is with
the mastering of the LP:  there doesn’t seem to be any.   I know that
here in the digital realm we tend to bitch and moan about digital CD
remastering.  Well in this case we’re brought back to the original point of LP mastering in the first place –
to give the tracks more consistency as a whole and give it all that
little extra shimmer and magic.  The tracks are all recorded and mixed
really well.  In fact I really like the production choices.  But some of
the tunes fail to “jump out” at you like they deserve.  The obvious
concession for a shot at a crossover  single, the Sly & the Patridge Family Stone-styled “Groovy Day” (the only song with horns, by the way), is the quietest song on the record, volume-wise.  And the difference between the quietest tune
and the loudest tune on each album side is HUGE.  These mixes could have benefited from being run through a good tube limiter, or at least some adjustments of overall track levels and a little
EQ to give the mixes some ‘air’ in the top end.   Oddly enough, a young Barry
Diament gets a `thank you` on the album jacket, and he has an
engineering credit on their next album.  Did he stop by the studio and
give them some pointers?  Help set up their studio?  Because this was
all recorded, mixed, and mastered in-house from the looks of it.

The song with the heaviest
“vibe” on the whole album is undoubtedly the Latin opium dream of
“Visions,” which must be why I chose to play it on my podcast a while back.  I’ve come to just love this whole album.
A lot of variety on here.  The last two songs have some incredible bass guitar tones, with just the right amount of over-driven amplifier, and the instrumental “Joni”
features fuzzy guitar runs and a weird
disco-prog-rock arrangement.

 

24bit

In a few weeks or months or whenever, I’ll share their next LP too.  Enjoy!
A couple of YouTube samples below

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16 Comments

  1. Thanks for this…..and in 24/96!
    Great.

  2. PS. Chico Hamilton – Reaching For The Top if you haven't already got it. Here:

    http://cosmicechoesechoes.blogspot.co.uk/

  3. Thank you very much!.
    I was really wanted to hear more from b to b ever since I heard your wonderful podcast no.3, but had poor luck finding things in decent quality.
    And yours is in pure lossless/vinyl delight!!
    Now, let's fire foobar 🙂

  4. Thank you very much!.
    I was really wanted to hear more from b to b ever since I heard your wonderful podcast no.3, but had poor luck finding things in decent quality.
    And yours is in pure lossless/vinyl delight!!
    Now, let's fire foobar 🙂

  5. Thank you very much!.
    I really wanted to hear more from b to b ever since I heard your wonderful podcast no.3, but had poor luck finding things in decent quality.
    And yours is in pure lossless/vinyl delight!!
    Now, let's fire foobar 🙂

  6. Thanks guys, glad it made you happy.

    Chipicui, what do you mean by firing foobar? It will play 24-bit files just fine, if that's what you mean.

  7. 'Firing up'…just is just slang.
    he just means he's going to start it up to play the music.

    Regards,

    Franco

  8. Thanks Franco.. that's what I meant, just 'play the file'.
    I'm not 100% sure of what I write in english as spanish is my main language.
    Flabber, nice rip by the way…
    I'm looking to buy a cheap and nice sounding cartridge to do some rips and I'm a little overwhelmed with so many choices.

  9. Thanks Flabbergast, love it 🙂

  10. This is cool. Thanks! Thanks also for transcribing the little shout-outs in the run-off grooves. Dunno why, but that cracked me up.

  11. thank you bro this is my kind of groovy vibe LOVE IT !!!

  12. Great album. Would never found about this if it weren't for you..like many other albums and artists……
    Especially I like Visions. The mood of it reminds me on "Summer Madness", one of my all-time favorites.
    Thanks.

  13. Great album. Would never found about this if it weren't for you..like many other albums and artists……
    Especially I like Visions. The mood of it reminds me on "Summer Madness", one of my all-time favorites.
    Thanks.

  14. Is it possible to stream a High Quality version of the “Let your mind be free” Album?

    • Not streaming, but there is a direct link to the 24 bit version right on the page if you look carefully… Not sure what happened to the 16-bit /44.1, I ought to attend to that I guess

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