In 1993 I bought a record called Mack Avenue Skull Game. It was was a fake soundtrack to a 70’s urban movie that never existed. For a while I thought it was a real movie and it in the days before the internet it could take a while to find your way to the truth. The band was never overly famous and never hit it big although they did have somewhat of a following and when I saw them live once it was a full room. The album itself reminds me of a Tarantino movie. It is a record made by white people and is a respectful homage to 70’s black music that stands on its own. I equate it with Tarantino’s Jackie Brown. I listened to it on Spotify recently see how it held up 20 years later. The record is still strong. The music is still gritty and tight and the vocals are occasionally remarkably. It drives forward with momentum and never dwells too long in one place. What sounded somewhat out of place in 1991 is much less out of place in 2014 as the world has come full circle and if Big Chief were touring today they be on the summer circuit festival making crowds move in the summer sun. It is a record that was out of place in 1993, but it did make many people like me find our ways to the original 70’s funk records that inspired it. On Spotify there is no related artists tab, because Big Chief kind of stood alone for 1993 any related artists would be from a generation before. Personally I am grateful for the record as a gateway to funk. I don’t know much about what happened to Big Chief and I don’t know much background information on them. I kid of like it that way, the album just stands on its own. I don’t think Big Chief made a record after Mack Avenue Skullgame, but for me it stands as a great record that time forgot.
Gene G. McLaughlin 2014