Having been a close collaborator with Stevie Wonder for years, 1972's Gary Byrd Experience represents the talented musician's opportunity to step into the spotlight with his own group.Best known as a DJ working at New York station WWRL, Byrd's relationship with Wonder began in the '60s and continued through Wonder's prolific years in the next decade, when he helped co-write "Black Man" and "Ghetto Village Land." Stepping out on his own with this album, Byrd's work sparkles with funky R&B flavors and early hip-hop influences. With a message of black empowerment, Byrd created slick, catchy songs like "Black is So Beautiful" and "Shining Black Prince" that featured him delivering spoken-word raps over the music a la Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets. Record collectors and hip-hop heads will also recognize the two-part track "Soul Traveling," an ode to Byrd's contemporaries like Curtis Mayfield and Al Green, which was famously sampled by Large Professor for Nas' debut single "Halftime" in 1992. First time ever on CD, brought to life in brilliant stereo sound as it was intended to be heard. An essential addition to any soul/funk lover's music library!