Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Counts

  • What's Up Front That--Counts [Westbound, 1972] B+
  • Funk Pump [Aware, 1974] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

What's Up Front That--Counts [Westbound, 1972]
Who are these guys? Well, I presume the five on the cover are the five credited with the title track: Raoul Keith Mangrum, Mose Davis, Demetrius Cates, Andrew Gibson, Leroy Mannuel. And that they play organ, guitar, bass, trap drums, and conga drums, with session horns. And that when they (Davis? Mannuel?) sing they favor Osibisa Afro-shout, only heavier and more soulful, to go with a basically instrumental Afro-funk that's also remarkably dense. I find most instrumental funk slick and/or contentless. This isn't. I find most multipercussion an excuse to lighten the beat. This isn't. A small find. B+

Funk Pump [Aware, 1974]
I feared the worst when I realized the lead cut was Carole King's "Jazzman," the worst being that they'd gotten "better." More vocals, more horns, more pop moves, and when the female chorus sings "This ain't a song it's just a magic ride" you can be sure it ain't a magic ride either. The title cut is built like a fire hydrant, and I enjoy side two until "Tecalli," where their Latin accent gets suave. But jazzmen they're not. B