There may come a time when musicians may agree with critics about certain recorded performances, when and if this time comes it will be an absolutely mind shattering synthesis of opinion.
I am not talking about the Leonard Feathers and the Richard Goldsteins who have more than a workingman’s knowledge of music. Technically I am talking about the long haired chick on the staff of a well-to-do teen rag who writes in sexually graphic terms about Jimi Hendrix eating his guitar from the inside out, or the smooth talking cat who works in a record shop who answers your pleas for a good blues record by handing you Fleetwood Mac, a cellophane version of the real thing, when you wanted Billy Hawks or Bobby Bland.
In the newest avalanche of releases, several have a few things to offer in the way of bold experimentation with emphasis on shading and tempo changes. And new freedom in recording.
These schmucks have literally enshrined Janis Joplin, American Breed, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker (etc.) thus perpetuating mediocrity and successfully denying true unpromoted talent simply because he or she doesn’t jive with the current commercial viewpoint of things.
Heavy Soul—Billy Hawks (Prestige)
There is very much I could say about Billy Hawks, vocalist, organist. But to make it short this is a great L.P. showing what is new in the blues scene. A synthesis of jazz and a heavy blues vocal, it drives, it’s raw and yet it’s incredibly smooth.
Anthology of British Blues—Eric Clapton, John Mayall. et al (Immediate)
This album should have come out in 1952. British music is 90% backward, particularly British blues. The effort it took to accurately copy old American blues must have been exhausting. Even the often sour notes are authentically reproduced. The better cuts on the L.P. are characteristically done by John Mayall. he is the best of the British bluesmen, if such a thing can be said.
Odyssey & Oracle—the Zombies (Date)
The Zombies were once one of England’s hottest and most progressive groups. Their long disappearance is as yet unexplained. but they have returned with perhaps an even better sound. Rod Argents’ soft yet sometimes wailing vocals and Chris White’s inventive and pronounced keyboard leads are missing due to the addition of orchestration, yet with this change there is also musical and artistic advancement and improvement.
Super Session—Al Kooper, Steve Stills, Mike Bloomfield (Columbia)
Instrumentally the L.P. contains some beautiful riffs and ideas. vocally may be the worst L.P. that has ever been released on Columbia Records. Most of the L.P. is instrumental with everyone on the session turning in sporadically good performances. “Season of the Witch,” “His Holy Modal Majesty,” and “It Takes a Lot to Laugh” are the best done tracks showing real enthusiasm. Steve Stills will undoubtedly blow minds turning in the best of the guitar performances. Bloomfield can be sometimes amazingly repetitive and just plain boring. this is apparently due to lack of tonal sense. He never changes the tone selections on his instrument.
On three blues L.P.s, first, “In my Own Dream”—Paul Butterfield’s integrated music as showing the schism yet union between two black forms of music blues and R&B. Most white blues musicians and followers are characteristically ten years behind in what appeals to the black mass. Butterfield isn’t, but he still has to play harp, so there has got to be old urban blues. This album for the most part is excellent, the handouts being “Get Yourself Together,” “Last Hopes Gone” and “In My Own Dream.”