Her early career was guided by Atlanta music legend Sonny Limbo. He connected Sami Jo with Rick Hall in Muscle Shoals, AL, where she recorded two singles that failed to chart. Sonny then got her a deal with MGM South, which led to Sami Jo's first hit, "Tell Me A Lie". In addition to reaching #21 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, it also reached #14 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart. Her follow-up single, "It Could Have Been Me", also did well, reaching #46 pop and #31 easy listening. Her first album, also entitled It Could Have Been Me, peaked at #33 on the U.S. Country Albums chart.
With this release, Edgar Winter was faced with the question that haunts many a superstar following a highly successful album – how can he outdo himself? While Shock Treatment falls short of outdoing himself, it still manages to rock pretty righteously. Beginning with this album's answer to their previous "Hangin' Around," "Some Kinda Animal," the band moves into the excellent blues torcher "Easy Street," which is painted with highlights from the substantial saxophone talent of Winter, not to mention some of his finest singing. Like They Only Come Out at Night, this recording includes a pair of haunting ballads, "Maybe Someday You'll Call My Name" and "Someone Take My Heart Away." "Queen of My Dreams," along with "River's Risin'," showcase the Edgar Winter Group doing what they do best – rocking out with passion and lots of drums and guitar. Not as good as their previous album, but still a winner in its own right.
Alto saxophonist and composer Robin Kenyatta made a slew of records in the 1970s that have been terribly misunderstood, to say the least. It was obvious by the time that Kenyatta released Terra Nova in 1973 that he was revisioning jazz as the perfect integration point for many – if not all – forms of popular music; Terra Nova had explored Caribbean rhythms (in particular reggae and calypso). But on his 1974 album Stompin' at the Savoy, Kenyatta took the revered jazz tradition and inserted it right into the heart of then contemporary styles of funk, soul, and pop, and even early club disco.
This date followed Calvin Keys' first, Shawn Neeq, by about two years. Hazy, psychedelic, post-bop is the order of the day here as well, but as most soul-jazz collectors will tell you, there's always a chance for some monster funk on a Black Jazz record so, as predictable as these releases may be on the surface, you never really know until you hear them. In this case, the bomb drops at the beginning of Side Two with "Aunt Lovely." While probably a little too 'out there' for most dance floors, "Aunt Lovely" begins like some of the best funky Grant Green of the era. As the track progresses, though, it gets more than a little hectic – especially during Charles Owens' Pharoah Sanders-esque soprano solo. Kirk Lightsey's overdriven and distorted electric piano only serves to add to this tension later.
Although one often thinks of Jaco Pastorius' first solo album as being 1976's Jaco on Epic, producer/keyboardist Paul Bley actually gave Pastorius his first chance to lead a recording two years earlier. Coincidentally titled Jaco, this spontaneous set (which has been reissued on CD) is also significant for being among guitarist Pat Metheny's first recordings; completing the quartet are Bley on electric piano and drummer Bruce Ditmas. The music consists of three songs by Bley, five from Carla Bley, and "Blood" by Annette Peacock. Pastorius sounds quite powerful, but Metheny's tone is kind of bizarre, very distorted and not at all distinctive at this point.