Cleveland’s Map City label was founded and run by the songwriting duo of Pete Anders and Vini Poncia, long-time props of bubblegum giant Kama Sutra. The company’s doors were open from 1969-73 and if this 1970 uranium funk monstrosity is the only justification for the venture, then no more is needed. Purple Image did only one album and it’s hard to imagine anything they might’ve done to top it.
The septet plays like a looser, psych-metal edition of War, with 6: 22 opener “Living in the Ghetto” coming on like an elderly freight train clattering at high speed through a bandsaw works, brakes futilely screeching as cow-catcher splits the factory boiler. There are four more tracks to the finale, each a uranium-rich soul jam, with only ‘We Got to Pull Together” expressing standard Motown sentiments in a sub-Temptations manner.
Purple Image bows for all time with “Marching to a Different Drummer,” a hypnotic swayback strut down a big-city avenue through the middle of a vast sunny Weirdness. About one third through the 15: 28, you’ve followed the sweet one with “her skirt extra high” back to her brownstone, taking her doggie-style as you pass the joint and exchange groans. This is what life sounds like to free people in an urban cage.
A minor masterpiece, to be sure, and further indication that the Great 1970 Reclamation Project has some years left to run.