The late 70s brought along a new generation of popular funk bands that changed the R&B landscape and garnered great success. It also brought some bands that, while talented, never really reached an audience. Phyrework falls in the latter category. Featuring lead singer and guitarist Clarence Pitts as well as guitarist Willie Smith, percussionist John Bryant, saxman Bill Eden, bassist Gerald Calhoun, trumpeter Jim Foster and keyboardist Frank Hames, the group issued a single, self-titled album in 1978, produced by Con-Funk-Shun singer and guitarist Michael Cooper. Boasting a horn-filled sound that was emerging at that time from groups like the Bar-Kays and even Maze, the disc was a solid representation of late 70s soul and funk. And Phyrework the band was tight, mixing up funk-dance numbers like “Comin’ For Your Love” with Cameo-like ballad like “Dance With Me” and even jazz fusion flourishes on “Mystic Mariner.”
Unfortunately, the album Phyrework came and went without denting the national charts, and Phyrework was, unfortunately, gone as quickly as it came. But talent has a way of showing itself over time, and the album Phyrework gathered a bit of a following and became an underground funk success over the next three decades, with the rare vinyl fetching high prices. Reissue label Vinyl Masterpiece issued the long lost album on CD in late 2011 to a small but welcoming audience.
By Chris Rizik