BIG BOSS MAN: Last Man On Earth (album) (2014)

Last Man On Earth Big Boss ManRating: ★★★★★ The UK’s mod-liest funk-soul-jazz-rnb-psych-fuzz outfit, Big Boss Man, are back with their fourth LP shortly and have decided to go with the whole concept-album – er – concept. In this case, the apocalyptic ‘last man on earth’ idea. It’s probably why they’ve run with the title The Last Man On Earth. Well – the sixties was a decade where all that hedonism was balanced by the very real threat of ‘the bomb.’ Imagine the nightmare prospect of having to wander alone through an atomic wasteland in your three-button suit without the slightest chance of finding a decent tailor. Ghastly. Well, Big Boss Man, I’ll see you your concept album and raise you the notion of a concept review! Let’s pretend your album was a compilation made by the last man on earth back in the day (on early Phillips compact cassette) to stave off the misery of endless zombie/ vampire hordes and having nowhere to get suit repairs and find out what he’d be listening to…

1. LAST MAN ON EARTH
…like a bit of Jimmy Smith for instance…

2. AARDVARK
…or a Georgie Fame instrumental…

3. BLOW YOUR OWN
…or The Bongolian. (N.B. The Bongolian wasn’t actually around in the 60s. Even if he thinks he was…)

4. LAST MAN ON EARTH
Sounds familiar – oh it’s the first track again – this time in a soul jazz stylee with guest vocals care of Princess Freesia…

5. HAIL CAESAR
…bit more Jimmy Smith – popular with the undead apparently…

6. CHANGING FACES
Did someone say Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake? Well who wouldn’t if they looked in the mirror and kept seeing different faces – Vincent Price’s, Charlton Heston’s and Will Smith’s for example. Guest vocals from Steve Marriott – I mean Al Greener…

7. BOMBAY MIX
…’last sitar player on earth’ more like.

8. CRIMSON 6Ts
King Crimson? Just kidding – it’s Georgie Fame again.

9. THE BEAR
Blimey – funky break, organ pyrotechnics – this one actually sounds like Big Boss Man…

10. PROJECT No. 6
Good lord – that is downright dirty guitar! And then it all goes very library music. In a good way. Something German like the Sonoton label though – KPM is so passe these days…

11. LE DERNIER HOMME SUR TERRE
Sonne comme quelque chose hors de la piste sonore de Blow Up

12. SHOT DOWN
Boom! Mod rock bigness – in the BBM tradition of Sell Your Soul, Reach Out and Clown Face. They should make a video for this and see how many times they can get people to dance to it before they get exhaustion on the shoot…

13. TRANS ADONIS
‘Trans Sonoton-is’ more like – see track 10…

14. PAINTED RAINBOW
Ahh – bit of Minnie Ripperton – if she did the theme to Barbarella that is…

15. SLADEY
Hello – it’s a Beastie Boys instro. ‘Sladey’ though? A tribute to BBM’s number 1 fan – Jeff ‘If you leave those bongos unattended I’ll help myself’ Slade – perhaps?

COMMENTS: If you’re going to pick a concept make sure it’s ‘on trend’ and Big Boss Man have certainly done that by launching The Last Man On Earth as a global Ebola pandemic gains ground. You might argue that nuclear armageddon is a bit more sixties but look on the bright side – who knows what buttons will end up being pressed when the operators of all those missiles and reactors collapse from fatal haemorrhagic fever. Talking of buttons being pressed, Big Boss Man seem to hit all of the ones marked ‘cult sixties’ once again. Be prepared for Last Man On Earth to broaden the BBM vibe though as it trades frequency of heavy hammond funk and vocals from organist/ percussionist Nasser Bouzida for a more soul-jazzy/ psychedelic feel and increased vocal collaborations. A little change is only to be expected though, it being the end of the world and all that. The main thing is not to lose your groove and BBM’s is in full view, prancing around like a paisley peacock on a podium…

BEST TRACKS: The Bear, Changing Faces, Project No. 6, Shot Down, Sladey
(Out 1 September on Blow Up Records)


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