Diplomats of Solid Sound – What Goes Around Comes Around

January 01, 1970





Iowa City, Iowa,
isn’t the most likely locale where you’ll encounter a smokin’, high-stepping
funk/soul band with the kind of chops normally reserved for Memphis,
Muscle Shoals or the Motor
City in the late ‘60s.
But then, that which doesn’t restrain ya, makes ya stronger, and by now it’s
eminently clear, what with four previous albums under their belt, the Diplomats
of Solid Sound have earned the right to kick out the jams in totally
unrestrained fashion. In fact, being from a place that’s not considered a major
market for the music industry can be a plus, as it can allow the band to hone
those chops in a decidedly unpressurized fashion.


For their first three albums (including two on tastemaker
garage label Estrus) the Diplomats operated as an instrumental ensemble. Then
on the fourth, self-titled platter they signaled a slight shift in approach
with an expanded moniker, The Diplomats of Solid Sound Featuring the
Diplomettes, which saw the arrival of three female vocalists. As we wrote in
our review of that 2008 record, “They are, in fact, exactly what the Diplomats
needed to push their sound over the top… It’s hip-shifting, finger-popping,
boxed-in funk that can start a party.” Now, for What Goes Around Comes Around, the Diplomettes tag has been
dropped, the gals integrated into the lineup proper, and the Diplomats are,
quite simply, slamming out the tunes with a vengeance as one big lean, mean, fonkin’ machine.


Among the numerous highlights: Opening track
“B-O-O-G-A-L-O-O” lives up to its title right out of the gate, with yackety
sax, frenetic percussion, handclaps and sundry background crowds noises helping
set the stage for the party that’s about to unfold. “Back Off” steers deep into
hypnotic Afro-funk territory as the female singer offers some politically-charged
admonitions to the citizenry, while “What Goes Around Comes Around,” similarly,
mines classic Blaxploitation for a struttin’, streetwise, Curtis
Mayfield-styled groove. “Fascination” sleekly and cheekily tips its hat in the
direction of “Green Onions,” and speaking of Booker T & the MG’s, in “Bailout!,”
the album’s lone instrumental, horns circle hungrily around the guitar player
until he breaks out, midsong, with a sizzlingly soulful solo that would do
Steve Cropper proud.


As with the previous album, British nu-funk whiz Lack Of
(aka Adam Gibbons) handles the mixing and editing duties; his deft hand at
the board has proven to be one of the band’s greatest assets in the studio.


But as with the classic funk and soul groups back in the
day, a mere studio recording can’t possibly do justice to the DOSS, nor can a
review of it. As you’ll no doubt gather from the video clips below (one of them
is just the music for “Back Off”), this is a band you need to see live if you really wanna shake a tail feather. Hell, it just might be worth booking a flight all
the way out to Iowa City,
in fact…


Goes Around Comes Around,” “Back Off,” “Get Out Of The Way” FRED MILLS


Leave a Reply