Solid is the sixth album by the band Mandrill, based in Brooklyn, New York. Released in 1975, this was the band's first release with United Artists Records.
It lacked the delicious hooks and tight funk of Composite Truth, but Just Outside of Town was as solid and confident a piece of music-making as the band ever accomplished. The single "Mango Meat" is a tough Latin funk number with some inspired group harmonizing, and Mandrill stretched out with a pair of love songs, "Never Die" and the aptly titled "Love Song," the latter beginning with a few minutes of atmospheric bliss that boasted unrealized cinematic/soundtrack possibilities.
Mandrill debuted in a key year for music. Between all the musical revolutions of the 60's the sounds of jazz,latin-rock,soul and funk were all bleeding into eachother to form an almost limitless groove. Along with Santana's Abraxas this really breaks open the musical mood of 1970 as musical bridges were crossing within the afro-cuban jazz-funk stew.
Apparently learning from the mistakes of its debut, Mandrill crafted a follow-up with fewer stylistic detours than the first record, but much more energy and greater maturity. The two singles, "Ape Is High" and "Git It All," are unhinged performances from all involved that have the sense of musical invigoration so key to a funk band – and so sorely lacking on this band's debut.
With four superb and nearly flawless albums under their belt, it was no surprise to anyone when raves began pouring in for Mandrill's ambitious August 1974 double LP Mandrilland. Recorded in the swampy, seething backwater of Bogalusa, LA, the album proved by far to be the band's most sophisticated set of jams to date, thankfully in spite of the replacement of guitarist Doug Rodrigues for the departing Omar Mesa.
Composite Truth is Mandrill's most successful album, commercially as well as artistically. Although the band's sense of freewheeling experimentation had been tempered, its gradual transition to a straight-ahead funk band was made perfect with two of the biggest hits of its career: "Hang Loose" and "Fencewalk." "Hang Loose" is all over the place (in a good way), moving from a grooving funk jam to mid-tempo guitar skronk and back, all part of an impassioned call to peace. "Fencewalk" also had several transitions, with a crooning chorus and an extended middle section powered by heavy brass and a screaming guitar solo.