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Mandrill Composite Truth album cover
4.00 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1. Hang Loose (4:45)
A2. Fencewalk (5:26)
A3. Hagalo (2:47)
A4. Don't Mess with People (3:43)
B1. Polk Street Carnival (6:06)
B2. Golden Stone (7:16)
B3. Out with the Boys (5:10)
B4. Moroccan Nights (6:43)

Total Time 41:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Carlos Wilson / trombone, vocals
- Lou Wilson / trumpet, vocals
- Ric Wilson / saxophone, vocals
- Claude "Coffee" Cave / keyboards
- Omar Mesa / guitar
- Bundie Cenas / bass
- Charlie Padro / drums

Releases information

Cd Collectables
LP: Polydor

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MANDRILL Composite Truth ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MANDRILL Composite Truth reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Third album from this septet and surprisingly enough, they (albums) remain at a high standard and of much interest for progheads. Apparently from the sleeve artwork, Mandrill felt a need to grow from ape status to an ill-advised multi-racial and multi-cultural facet, but the costumes are either carnival-esque and induce into Village People masquerade or the pretentious dead-seriousness of these costumes. Maybe they went for a Composite Truth and you should be aiming in the middle of the two extremes. In either case, the album is still a very strong one with plenty of instrumental interplay space and it would manage very healthy sales. Line-up-wise, the bassist spot has been handed over to Fudgie Kaye who would be around for the next three albums.

There are the usual strong funk tracks including the two hit singles from this album, the excellent Hang Loose with its superb organ and powerful brass section, the fantastic Fencewalk with plenty of wailing guitars and beefy-bleedy brass, the outstanding Don't Mess With People and its incredible syncopation (this must be the essence of prog funk), the longer Santana-esque Golden Stone and its constantly changing climates with its orgiastic organ, the ultra-smooth closing Morroccan Nights with its amazingly well orchestrated suite of instruments following one another.

However there are the more Caribbean-Latino track the nearly instrumental Hagalo (strong trumpet and vibes) or Polk Street Carnival (almost a pastiche, but I'm not sure this was intentional and overstays its welcome badly) and the crooner-like Out With The Boys (the quietest track of the album if you can believe it), all three tracks are bringing the average down a bit.

Just as good as its predecessor and not having that ill-advised theatrical Universal Rhythm, Composite Truth is one of those AfroAmerican gems that most white people don't suspect they ever existed, along with Cymande and Osibisa.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars In my opinion this is the best of their first three classic albums. The horn and vocal styles really don't do a lot for me but I feel on this one they've toned those two things down a lot. This is a more serious, more mature album. Now we still get a couple of tracks that have me rolling my eyes like "Hagalo" with that Island sound and then my least favourite "Polk Street Carnival". The first two tracks were apparently released as singles and they are good but it was that "Don't Mess With People" that had me nodding with respect. A nice heavy sound early on with the bass, organ, beats and vocals. The vocals have more of a serious tone. We get punchy and intricate sounds at 2 1/2 minutes as the vocals step aside. Flute joins in then horns after 3 minutes. Great sound!

My other two favourites besides "Don't Mess With People" are "Golden Stone" the longest piece at close to 7 1/2 minutes and "Out With The Boys" which I normally wouldn't pick because it's getting close to being ballad-like but it works for me. Sparse sounds on that one with piano and laid back vocals mostly. Some orchestration I believe around 2 1/2 minutes and some flute as well. I like how different instruments lead on that "Golden Stone" song especially the guitar. Nice powerful sound 5 1/2 minutes in. The closer is surprisingly chilled out as well. I like the balance on this album but I'm still not completely sold on these guys. Giving this a low 4 stars.

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