Monday, March 26, 2007

Les McCann Comment LP

There is something so desirable about Atlantic LPs from the late 60s and early 70s. The high gloss LP covers, classic logo. You know even if the record isn't killer, it will look good on the shelf. Whenever I see one in a record bin, I want to take it home, and if the price is right I usually do. I remember even being psyched to buy a bunch of water damaged Ornette LPs-even with the water damage the Atlantic covers looked tight. Now remember my Les McCann and Roberta Flack obsession (compared to what, et al) and it is no surprise I snatched this up on sight.
Roberta Flack breaks down the liner notes on this 1970 release, that has Les taking the mike and belting them out. 7 tracks. Some of the usual suspects for a Roberta Flack/McCann record are here -Ron Carter, Billy Cobham. I guess these are "soul jazz" or something which lets them run the spectrum from soul to funk to ballads to abstract art stuff. Overall this record is pretty straight ahead.
"Can't we be strangers again" is a heart rending ballad in the southern soul style with great female backing vocals. "What I call soul" is has got a killer groove and is about a road trip so how could you not love it. Ron Carter keeps this one moving on the bass and gets name checked on the fade out which is tight.
Comment opens and dominates side 2, a real expansive Marvin Gaye style "what's going on" track or maybe a John Lennon "Imagine" concept. Except with a big choir for back ups. He is telling the "fuddy duddys" what is up. Nice. Especially when Brother Billy comes in on guitar. A totally kick ass tune. Roberta steps up on "Baby,Baby" and Les might not be Donny Hathaway, but it is a good ballad none the less-especially when you realize it was written by some of Les's piano students!
For me it's 3/7 killer with 2 clunkers and 2 OK tracks. But grab it for the 3 killers and you won't worry about the other ones-if your drunk enough the ballads will be nice.
One of the best things about being a record collecting nerd, is that if you had told me 4 years ago that I would be loving all this Roberta Flack/Les McCann stuff, I would have laughed at you, but here I am. Who knew?

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