There's nobody like Bobby Blue Bland on Duke Records – especially during the early years that are featured on this collection! Bland came out of Memphis with a very unique, really amazing sound right from the start – an approach to blues that was a lot more sophisticated than most of his contemporaries, even those on the LA scene – with lots of jazz in his phrasing, and his backings as well – and this sublime vocal approach that often had Bobby growling in a way that seemed to come from deep down in the depths of his soul, but never in any sort of gimmicky sort of style. Bland was always the perfect balance of cool, class, and outright blues power – and that was never more true than on these sides.
Blue Note's So Blue, So Funky, Vol. 1 is a 12-track compilation that highlights the funkiest soul-jazz organists that recorded for the label, whether it was a leader or as a sideman. Although there's a handful of cuts from the early '60s, such as "Face to Face" by the terrific, underrated Baby Face Willette, the compilation leans toward the funky fusions of the late '60s, such as Big John Patton's "Fat Judy," Lou Donaldson's "Everything I Do Is Gon' Be Funky (From Now On)," Jack McDuff's "Butter for Yo' Popcorn" and Grant Green's "Ain't It Funky Now." The best thing about this comp is that even though it has familiar names, not all of the material is readily available on CD, which makes it of interest to casual groove fans and serious collectors alike.
Time traveler Alvin Youngblood Hart's albums have darted from crusty Delta fingerpicking and hollering to Hendrixian hellfire to crunchy, primal rockin' blues, all with the ring of authority that comes from complete commitment to the music. This time, he's set the wayback machine to the early '30s, using guitars, mandolin, banjo, and a lot of heart to interpret tunes by Son House, Charley Patton, Skip James, Leadbelly, and others. Somehow, the dust of old Mississippi, the state where the Oakland-born musician now resides, seems to have gotten into his blood. Hart sounds like Parchman Farm's newest inmate as he wails and moans through "How Long Before I Can Change My Clothes," plucking notes from a National resonator guitar. Chiming out chords and quick runs on banjo, he makes Odetta's "Chilly Winds" seem like they're carrying the voices of lost ghosts, recounting their lives of misery under Jim Crow's wing. Hart tends to take many of these classics, like Patton's "Tom Rushen Blues" and Leadbelly's "Alberta," at slightly slower tempos, which gives him more time to squeeze gut emotions from his lightly graveled phrases and lets his pluck-and-drone playing work its hypnotic effect. Stark and impressive for the power Hart generates alone, this may be the acoustic blues album of the year.
The world down under produced some of the most ferocious and provocative sounds to have emerged from the 1960s. Crammed full of fuzz, distortion, feedback, phasing, and wild dementia, this uncompromising sound was the precursor to punk rock. Buried Alive!! conjures up a superb collection of rampant amphetamine fury, jammed tight with the most vile and repulsive '60s delinquency ever put together. This six-disc anthology culls together 150 long lost sounds of toxic, teenage rebellion from Australasia. Professionally re-mastered original sound; includes previously unreleased recordings. Buried Alive!!