This was w-a-a-a-a-a-y ahead of its time, even in 1974 the year of its release. How to describe Maxyn: Hmmm… Think Sly and the Family, merged into Patti Labelle, with a touch of Chaka Khan and you’d have a slight clue. This funky heady spiritual, mean rocking stuff. The cover features a b & w photo of an atomic blond hugely afro-topped black chick with her lush mouth wide open. Is she smiling? Is she screaming? Who knew. But that cover alone was enough to make me pick it up.
A1 Bail Out 4:15
A2 Life Is What You Make It 4:13
A3 Cried My Last Tear 4:40
A4 Moonfunk 4:35
B1 Fun 3:10
B2 You Don’t Have To Be Lonely 3:50
B3 Trying For Days 6:45
B4 Everything Begins With You 3:40
This 1970s Funk/Soul aggregation took its name from lead singer Maxayn Lewis (born Paulette Parker) and wife of band keyboardist/bassist Andre Lewis (along with guitarist Mario Henderson and drummer Emilio Thomas). Today they are better known for their 3 albums than any singles success enjoyed. After signing with Capricorn Records, launched in Macon, Georgia in 1969 by Phil and Alan Walden and Frank Fenter, their first two releases went nowhere – Gimme Shelter b/w Song – Capricorn 0009 in July 1972, and Let Me Be Your Friend b/w Trying For Days – Capricorn 0011 in Oct 1972. Even so, that same year they had their first of three LPs, titled simply “Maxayn” (Capricorn 0103).
In June 1973 they then enjoyed their only national claim to fame on the singles charts when Check Out Your Mind finished at # 35 R&B but which made no impact whatsoever on the more lucrative Billboard Pop Hot 100, b/w Good Things as Capricorn 0017. Both sides were also part of their second album, “Mindful” (Capricorn 0110).
The label tried again early in 1974 with a promo single of Bail Out (Capricorn 0041) with the same song in mono on one side and stereo the other. When it received some encouraging feedback, it was released as a main single b/w Everything Begins With You as Capricorn 0041 – but to no avail. Both sides were also part of their 3rd and last LP “Bail Out For Fun” (Capricorn 0125).
The songs, each and every one of them are so well written, so soulfully sung, so electronically advanced, so very different and so what if no one ever heard it! Some albums are like hidden treasures> Those of us who own them, selfishly keep them to ourselves. When we’re alone, we pull turn to them like secret friends– the oddly special kind that only we can possibly love, understand, or appreciate their rare and wonderful beauty.
The song “You Don’t Have to be Lonely” is a call to every unrequited lover, every fool chasing a dream, telling them all that we– “the unloved” have to offer them, if they’d only open their eyes.
“Bail out” has a trace Sly’s “Family Affair” groove, before it churns and bubbles into a George Clinton raucous flava with a nod to funkateers everywhere. Lyrically, the song is an ass-kicker, too:
“Unpaid bills. Unfaithful thrills/ Make me wanna bail out of this mess/ Crying friends running-outta-money blues/ Makes me wanna bail out.”
There are other songs, even better songs that run the gamut from funky, free, furious to forlorn but I’ve said way too much.
I’ll keep my Maxyn and all the deliciousness she and her band have to offer to my damn self. Just know it is one of my all time favorite orphans.
No doubt a major part of their problem in not attaining greater commercial success was the limited promotional capacity of the label which, instead, was concentrated more on their other artists at the time, such as The Allman Brothers Band and then The Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop and Wet Willie who all enjoyed varying degrees of success on that lucrative Pop Hot 100. Certainly, in the hands of a larger operation such as Atlantic or Motown their music would be much better remembered today.
Speaking of Motown, Andre Lewis resurfaced in 1977 with that label under the single name Mandré turning out some of the weirdest music ever put to disc, dominated by synthesizers and electronic bloops and beeps. From there to 1979 he turned out 9 singles along with 3 albums (plus one more in 1982 for Future Groove) titled Mandré, Mandré Two, M3000 and, at Future Groove, Mandré 4.
you can get Mandre album in our back pages here
and Maxayn 1972 debut album here