Les McCann & Eddie Harris
Produced by Nesuhi Ertegun & Joel Dorn
recorded June 1969
Classic spontaneous combustion soul jazz from McCann/Harris (they’d never rehearsed or played together), the set opening with a definitive version of McCann’s signature tune “Compared to What?” (Gene McDaniels), the rest instrumental, cooking from the get-go, keeping it going from go to whoa, turning down the flame and getting a bit reflective on the cuts that close the sides.
Solid set from 1969, essential listen for fans.
s e l e c t i v e
(selected by winch)
“Sweetheart Things” (Eddie Hinton)
Ruby Winters (Kentucky/Cincinnati) Diamond (269B) 1969
“You Turn Me On” (Teddy Van)
The Sandpebbles (New York) Calla (160A) 1969
“How Can You Tell Me” (Bickerton/Waddington)
“Nothing But A Heartache” (Bickerton/Waddington)
The Flirtations (South Carolina) Deram (85038) 1969
Then Play On
rating: **** (recommended)
These folks started out as a solid but standard British blues outfit but by 1969 they’d turned into something much more interesting. This was Mac at its best, with all three of the classic guitarists on board (but some suggesting that Spencer didn’t actually play on this album). This would be the end of Green’s involvement, another acid casualty, and they’d also soon lose Spencer–apparently to some American religious cult.
Green’s contributions are especially strong at this point, with the almost nine-minute version of “Oh Well” the centerpiece, perfectly capturing the manic-depression acid-fueled insanity. This flash of mad brillance had started with the “Albatross” single late in ’68 and concluded with “The Green Manalishi.” It’s too bad these cuts didn’t end up on this set, but this still has plenty to offer.
If you’ve never heard this extended version of “Oh Well,” you owe it to yourself to crank it and lie down, turn out the lights. If you’re a frybrain, roll one up and fire it up at the beginning of the album so you’re flying high by the time “Underway”/”Oh Well” rolls around. Then play on.
author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s
Ike & Tina Turner
Reissued as Too Hot to Hold
Rating: **** (Recommended)
While a few cuts are better served on earlier albums, this has more than enough to keep it rolling. Highly recommended.
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)