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A. J. Mcconnachie (Sydney Australia)

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Wade In The Water Classics,Origins & Oddities (Deluxe 4CD Hardback Digi-Book)
Wade In The Water Classics,Origins & Oddities (Deluxe 4CD Hardback Digi-Book)
Price: £59.07

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mighty 60s R and B Originators, 30 Sept. 2013
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No other band on earth quite sounds or sounded like the classic line-up of the Graham Bond Organisation. The combination of definitively cool 60s Hammond organ, Bond's throaty and vaguely malevolent vocals, Heckstall-Smith's fluid sax and of course a great rhythm section set the Organisation apart from their peers. Unlike most of their British R and B contemporaries, the sound wasn't based on guitars, maracas and rave ups, but slow-burning very black sounds closer to jazz and soul than Chicago Blues.

For years, their modest back catalogue (two studio albums, a few singles and a posthumously released live album) lay hidden away, occasionally spotted in a cut out bin or a stray track on a 60s compilation. But "Wade In The Water" solves all this. In four lovingly compiled cds, we have (almost) the complete recorded works of Graham Bond (vocals, organ, alto sax), Jack Bruce (vocals, bass and harmonica), Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxes) and of course Ginger Baker (drums).

The Organisation were a force of nature at their best - although the wildness of their live act was never quite captured on record, "Wade" includes a bunch of hitherto unreleased live takes, hardly pristinely recorded, which give some idea of the band's vision and drive. The studio albums have their moments as well, although a combination of some odd song choices ("Tammy" for one) and not wholly sympathetic production lessens their effect. Then there are intriguing previously unheard oddities like "Johnny Comes Marching Home".

As with many box sets, there are multiple versions of some tracks (the title track weighs in with seven) and perhaps too many early recordings (with Duffy Power for instance), but on the whole this a comprehensive, long-overdue attempt to comprehensively cover one of the most intriguing bands ever. Die hard completists will cavil at the exclusion of the Klooks Kleek live recordings, but they can be easily obtained elsewhere.

All in all, this set is a worthy tribute to a ground-breaking bunch of musical eccentrics - while Bruce and Baker found huge fame and success with The Cream, the GBO are often sadly overlooked. "Wade In The Water" does a fine job of setting that straight.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2013 4:21 PM GMT

His Band And The Street Choir
His Band And The Street Choir
Price: £3.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Driving New Orleans R n B from The Man, 22 Oct. 2009
His Band and the Street Choir was Van Morrison's third solo album proper, after the transcendent Astral Weeks and the more mainstream but undeniably brilliant Moondance. Released in late 1970, "His Band" finds Van fronting a tough but tender R and B band with blaring horns, female backing singers, taut arrangements and real dynamic flair.

Seen by many as a slight letdown after the glories of its predecessors, "His Band" does indeed go lightly on Morrison's celtic influences, but is instead dominated by some glorious ensemble playing and proudly carries in its grooves an inspired undercurrent of New Orleans funk.

It even includes one of Van's rare US Top Ten Hit singles - the pulsing "Domino", an ode to the R and B radio of Morrison's youth.

The album also features the sublime "Call Me Up In Dreamland", the driving "I've Been Working", "I'll be Your Lover, Too", an introspective track reminiscent of some of his Astral Weeks work, and a soulful closing courtesy of "If I Ever Needed Someone" and the semi-title track "Street Choir".

Sure there are some throwaways, "Sweet Jannie" among them, but this is one Van Morrison album where his love for his music and joy in its execution come shining through above all else. "Blue Money", for instance, is probably as close as Van gets to a romp over the entirety of his forty-plus year solo career.

On "His Band and the Street Choir" Van Morrison sheds perceptions of his tortured genius and instead shines as the rhythm and blues bandleader, songwriter, and of course singer that he always was.

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