Main Street

Main Street were an American soul-funk band that issued a self-titled album on Koala in 1976. The band concurrently recorded with the John Wagner Coalition, named after the producer and engineer of both projects.

Members: Janis Russell (vocals), Ralph Gonzales (drums), Rick Davies (trombone), Robert Seely (trumpet), Steve Miller (guitar), Jose Jimenez (congas), Mike Weatherly (bass), Michael Maddux (keyboards)

The Songs

An octave bass-poke in Dmin forwards the wah/Rhodes-accented, kick-third syncopation of “Big Burque,” which takes full shape as clipped brass charts interlock with the groove. Explorations of the figure’s outer notes are explored during solo turns by trumpet and sax, the latter verging on dissonance.

Fret-picking in Cmin opens “Slipped Disc,” where the bass joins in with a counter-line that is quickly locked in with two’s and four’s. By the time the brass layers on with upper-octave complements, three different melodies are running at once to a unified cadence. The density thickens as the guitarist deviates with a snaky, sizzling solo.

The impenetrable meter of “Ricky Ricardo” serves as the ultimate challenge for the soloists. Keyboards manage to complement the rhythm section with brisk accents, but the pattern is only tackled with brass and guitar — the former doubles the groove while the latter wiggles and burns in muted fuzztone.

An urgent Gmin tonality facilitates the unison, arpeggiated bass/Rhodes interplay of the brassy, vocalized “Tighten Up Our Love.” The hyperactive percussive rolls of “Free People” trigger several leaks of Rhodes filigree, even as the brass-lighted maj7 tonality tries to make this a vocal track.

Other tracks on the album further mine the vocal angle. Of these, “What Is the Deal?” features the rhythmically headiest arpegiated interplay.

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