The Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun + Phase Two. 1972 USA
The Jimmy Castor Bunch - Phase Two. 1972 RCA
CD reissues: 1999 Camden/BMG (Europe); 2014 Robinsongs/Cherry Red (UK). Both albums on one CD
Release details: Garden variety mainstream US release. According to Discogs, It's Just Begun would appear to still be in production with new LP pressings every so often. I just recently picked up the Robinsongs CD, and it's a great reissue with complete liner notes and both albums in full.
Notes for It's Just Begun: I'll never forget the first time I heard the title track. It was only a few years ago, and my wife had our cable TV on the "soul channel". Yes, that's right, the cable TV music channel (Urge I think - dreadful in every other way I'm afraid). And I looked over at the TV and said "What the hell?". I just sat there mesmerized (luckily not on YouTube or no doubt it would be viral now). I've heard - what - a million songs now? How have I never heard this? We are talking a grinding bass like Jannick Top of Magma, with some fuzzy guitars thrown on top for good measure. And, as you might guess, that's not the only monster track here. Psyche and LTD are freaking amazing - especially the latter, sounding like Funkadelic dropped in on a Santana concert - with Miles Davis performing on trumpet. Of course, it's not all like this, because if it were, it would be a 5 star monsterpiece. But we go way up here. Way up.
Notes for Phase Two: Many Americans will remember a comedy/drama show in the 1970s called "Good Times". It was set in the deplorable Cabrini-Green housing projects in central Chicago, and depicted a hard working family struggling to make ends meet - in the most difficult situations imaginable. But there was always time for a laugh amongst the serious drama. It was lighthearted, but very serious too. The show was excellent, and both critics and fans enjoyed it. Over time, though, folks apparently lost interest in the "hard hitting" drama aspect. And so the shows' popularity particularly soared when eldest son "J.J." would enthusiastically yelp "DY-NO-MITE". And as you might imagine, the show deteriorated rapidly into a caricature, where it just became plain silly. And all the seriousness was gone. And that, my friends, is Jimmy Castor Bunch's "Phase Two".