"The B-Funk" was released in1995 and came as the debut album from the Wolverhampton-based Soul and R&B singer Beverly Knight. Although it didn't receive the amount of attention that later releases from the artist would get, it enabled her to get a feel for what she would later work her way towards as she became more popular and broke into the mainstream.
1. "The B-Funk" (Intro)
2. "Moving On Up"
Following an a capella introduction, you find that she immediately moves into one of the singles from the release and drops some of her funky stuff on the listeners by getting into this fly cut where (after having shown the potential she has in her vocals) she gets into some of the popular contemporary work and does a good job at coming through with that sort of infectious material to break the listeners in.
3. "Mutual Feeling"
Here she gets into what was the final single from the album and one of her least successful efforts, however I can't really say that I felt that it was actually that weak and perhaps it just didn't meet what people's tastes were like in 1996 (or it simply didn't receive the promotion that the others had) as I felt that this was a strong one from the artist and has her introducing a little Hip Hop into the mix.
4. "Flavour Of The Old School"
This was the debut single from the singer and one the broke her into the game effectively as with this one you get a good idea of what exactly she is about through the sorts of styles that come into play (such as R&B, Soul, Gospel, Funk and Hip Hop). It has a harsh slap to it and it supports the way that R&B was going during the mid-nineties and how things would persist from this point as Hip Hop would become more prominent in it.
After having dropped something so hard upon the listeners, you find that here she appears to have set up a bit of a contrast as you see that it goes from such a raw one to one that shift things around towards the softer end to show some sort of variety and depth to what she does. Here she does appear to be especially strong at this side of things, but she would go on to do much bigger and better things later.
6. "Down For The One"
Using 'The One' concept that has been borrowed from George Clinton and his P-Funk mob, you see that in this one she gets back to the much more lively material where she brings the Hard Funk to her music in order to punctuate what she does and to come out with what I would consider to be the most impressive results. It is another fresh jam and its qualities mean that it doesn't really belong to any specific time period.
7. "Steppin' On My Shoes"
She breaks off another big one to the listeners as she offers the listeners a groove that has her mixing all of the sorts of things that had been felt earlier on, but in this case she appears to tame it in a way so that it sounds much more laid-back and has her doing a mid-tempo one that seems quite passive and although I can see many dismissing it as filler, it does have quality to it and is bound to grow on you with time.
8. "Promise You Forever"
You get a significant change to the way things go in this one as you see that in it the pace is dramatically lowered in order to give her the chance to get into some soothing material. I go t a lot of R. Kelly from this one, but at this stage of her career I can't say that I felt that she was really capable of carrying this kind of thing (although at times she shows that her voice has the potential to reach it).
9. "It's Your Time"
The pace is lifted for this one as things move back towards the fly material that received the most attention due to its ability to grove the listeners and fit in with all the contemporary trends that were prominent on the US scene (as she didn't really have any competition in the UK). It is relatively under-developed when compared to the others in this style (evident through its heavy hook repetition) but still does what you would like it to.
10. "So Happy"
On this one the artist comes out with a tune that clearly went through development later on as a killer single from the album that came after this one feature many similarities to this one and you see that here it just doesn't compare as in this case you have a nice one, but one that doesn't really stand out on the album at all as it is a very generic feel-good song from her, but its overall format is exciting.
11. "Cast All Your Cares"
In this one you find that she moves more towards the Soul end of her material as she once again shifts dramatically from one pace to another and in slowing things so immediately, she loses the flow she had going and makes for a tune that I felt needed quite a bit more to actually care about. It is lacking, and once again displays her inability to deliver when it comes to this kind of thing on this album.
12. "U've Got It"
With this one she comes in strong with a light, two-stepping groove and another one that I felt seemed quite similar to material that would later be found on "Prodigal Sista". It is high-quality stuff and finds her leaping back up from a pretty low point on the track prior to this to come out with more strong material that shows just how far she can takes things when exploring each aspect of the style she has chosen to get into.
13. "In Time"
On this one she gets into some soulful material and I felt that in this cse she was able to do a decent job (as opposed to some rather weak ones that had come earlier) however I couldn't help but feel that as she does this she really doesn't actually compete with any of the other popular acts of the time when it comes to this, and she also lacks what she would later gain as she grew as a recording artist.
14. "Goodbye Innocence"
I can't say that I was particularly impressed by this end to the album as in this one you see that she breaks everything down to its base elements as she works of some piano work and attempts to make the most of her vocals with this simplistic arrangement, but I felt that it didn't really add to the album at all and essentially flips the introduction on its head with one that I can't say I really felt anything for.
Although inconsistent, I have to say that I did enjoy much of this album and it does a lot for her as you see that here she is able to make the most of the inner Funk that she wanted to offer the listeners as a bit of a gimmick and in this end she did well, but when it came down to the slower material very little happened and it all felt rather plain.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 B Funk
2 Moving On Up
3 Mutual Feeling
4 Flavour Of The Old School
6 Down For The One
7 Steppin' On My Shoes
8 Promise You Forever
9 It's Your Time
10 So Happy
11 Cast All Your Cares
12 U've Got It
13 In Time
14 Goodbye Innocence
15 Flavour Of The Old School
16 Moving On Up