It’s always a joy to see musicians get their propers. There were so many people making original music in the late 60’s/ early 70’s that never get their respect or recognition for putting out incredible music. One such record was from Fred Shorts and his band Masterplan Inc. The original single out there sells for about $2000+, and if you don’t have that kind of money to shell out for a 45, you’re out of luck like two dogs stuck. Luckily, there is Jazzman Records to the rescue. Jazzman and Fryer have been consistently putting out great releases of all genres and they have got their hands on a beauty of a release. With help from the musician Fred Shorts himself, Jazzman Records has put out previously unreleased material by his Midwest band Master Plan Inc.from 1974.
Uncovered from Shorts’ mother’s basement in Minneapolis, seventeen tracks including five demos make up this full length that never saw the light of day until now. Master Plan Inc. were a good Funk and Soul band, who had shopped the project to labels like Brunswick without any luck. Perfect for the time period and just on the cusp of when bands started to shift to Disco, Master Plan Inc.had not moved there yet. They remained steeped in a deep Funk and raw Soul sound that is still crisp today, almost four decades later. The heavy horned, funked up “Master Plan, Inc. Intro”, that is part JB’s, part, Kool & The Gang, and part Soul Tornadoes sets the tempo for this unearthed classic. Leaning towards heavy Funk with tracks like “Heartbreaker” (and an uncanny Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On”beginning vibe), “Bright Lights, Big City”, the slow pot of simmering funk known as “Bag Up” featuring female vocalist Joann Addison, and the Cymande-esque “For The Brothers” demo track, the record is solid. It also has a Soul side to it as well. The bass heavy “You Turn Me On”, the silky “Try It, You’ll Like It”, and tracks like “You”, and “Special Love” highlight a softer side of the band that balance out this record. Two versions of their tune “Something To Be Done” (original and a Brunswick version, available as a separate 45) are included as well as some demos. While not the best quality, these tracks show that gritty side of a struggling band playing music, touring, and just scraping by. They are tremendous. This uncovered stash has a little bit of everything here, whether you want to go hard or get your sweeter Soul on, it’s there. Imagine the closets, basements, storage units, and the like that are filled with tapes, reel to reels, and demos of bands that never saw the light of day. Master Plan Inc. were one of them, but the cat is out of the bag now thanks to Jazzman and Shorts’ Mother’s basement. It appears that the band were on to something, even if it took almost 40 years to get there.
Get the record from Jazzman here.