24 Carat Black Gone! The Promises Of Yesterday

Back when many of those who had contributed to Stax Records' post-Isaac Hayes success were rewarded with vanity projects, Hot Buttered Soul arranger Dale Warren unveiled this band as his magnum opus. 24CB's first album was buried under an avalanche of cut-out LPs in 1973/'74, only to be reanimated by discerning British groove-ophiles in the '90s. Numero has somehow salvaged six tracks from their aborted second album from completely mouldering away in a Chicago basement. The pomp and majesty of Warren's productions are rendered more ghostly by the ravages of time but the frightening, funky core to these dramatic reinterpretations of a selection of his pop songs from the '60s remains. Only occasionally does the music boil over into driving funk; most of the time the music rumbles underneath songs of longing and break-ups. It's got the mood, if not the subject matter, of Hayes (circa his Joy album) and the steamrolling, if strangely out of tune, soul reaches epic proportions on "I Begin To Weep" before dissolving into near-ambient orchestration. (Numero Group)