Galactic Grooves: The Best Of Lakeside


Solar / The Right Stuff Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


There are times when I'm listening to some albums that I wonder just how ignorant I am about music. Up until the moment I first listened to Galactic Grooves: The Best Of Lakeside, I would have sworn up and down that I had never heard of these guys before.

All it took were about 30 seconds of the disc's leadoff track (and the band's biggest hit) "Fantastic Voyage" for things to click in my head. Had the rapper Coolio not done a song of the same title and used samples from this track, I'd still be swearing on copies of The Rolling Stone Record Guide that I had never heard of Tiemeyer McCain, Tomas Oliver Shelby and crew.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For the better part of a decade, this Ohio-based band made their presence felt on the rhythm-&-blues charts with such tracks as "Fantastic Voyage," "It's All The Way Live" and Outrageous" - but they never made a major dent on the pop charts, only getting as high as number 55 with "Fantastic Voyage". But their influence is felt even today, and Lakeside are still a musical force to deal with.

Musically, their chops are above other bands in the same genre I've listened to in the last year or so (from the same time period); they're not afraid to put variety into the beats they lay down on songs like "Raid" (which I remember from a parody song called "Roaches" - anyone remember who did that cut?) and "Your Love Is On The One". Moreso than other bands, they're a truly fun band to listen to on occasion, as heard on "From 9:00 Until" and "Pull My Strings".

Lakeside did have their weaknesses as well. Their slow-jams cover of The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" ends up sounding self-serving, and one is left wondering why they chose such a song to give the mood-music treatment to. Thankfully, these slips are rare and minor.

The biggest weakness I can find with Galactic Grooves is that it is, at times, a difficult album to listen to. I'm freely admitting this is possibly because I'm a 28-year-old white male who was brought up on a steady diet of rock in the '70s, and that I never gained a true appreciation for r&b of all styles and flavors. But the first time I sat down to listen to Galactic Grooves, I found it hard to get through even a half-hour of these jams, so I put it back on the shelf for a while. (On my most recent listen, I was able to get through the whole album in one sitting, and enjoy it as well.)

The only explanation I can give is that you really have to be in the right frame of mind for the kind of funk that Lakeside lays down - a real "happy" funk, I'd call it. If you're not having the greatest of days, I doubt that Galactic Grooves is going to be the first albun you want to listen to. However, if you're in a real happy-go-party mood, then this will be the first disc in the CD player - in fact, it might not leave the player.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Solar / The Right Stuff Records, and is used for informational purposes only.