Bread Alone/5

by: Junie

Despite his associations with the Ohio Players (during their Westbound period) and Parliament/Funkadelic, Walter "Junie" Morrison never achieved great commercial success as a solo artist. But that isn't to say that his solo output wasn't artistically or creatively successful; Morrison recorded some fine solo albums, including 1980's Bread Alone and 1981's 5. Those albums, originally released on vinyl LP by Columbia, are offered back to back on this 65-minute CD from the Brooklyn-based Funky Town Grooves. Bread Alone and 5 favor a somewhat sleeker and more polished approach than the rawer solo albums Morrison recorded for Westbound in the '70s, but that doesn't mean that the material isn't funky; there's plenty of that on this CD which could be described as P-Funk-meets-Steve Arrington-era Slave with hints of Sly Stone. P-Funk-isms are not hard to find on this reissue; one finds them on "Funky Parts," "Seaman First Class (Jock Rock)," "Love Has Taken Over Me," and "Why" from Bread Alone, as well as on "Taste of Love," "I Love You Madly," and the rock-edged "Victim of Love" from 5. This disc offers its share of surprises; Bread Alone's title track has a reggae-pop flavor, and "Rappin' About Rappin'" draws on hip-hop and P-Funk simultaneously, which was unusual back in 1981. There were some R&B artists who acknowledged hip-hop in the early '80s (Teena Marie on "Square Biz," Leon Haywood on "Lover's Rap"), and the Fatback Band's "King Tim III" came out around the same time as the Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." But hip-hop was something that most of the R&B artists of that era stayed away from. Definitely ahead of its time, "Rappin' About Rappin'" blended hip-hop and P-Funk long before Dr. Dre, Warren G, or Snoop Dogg. Neither Bread Alone nor 5 made Morrison the solo star he deserved to be; rather, they fall into the "overlooked gems" category, and it's good to see them reissued together on a single CD. ~ Alex Henderson

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