Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yusef Latef Hush'n'Thunder LP
Nice name especially when you see it has a track called "the hump" on it. Atlantic Records 1973. Yusef is a guy I want to like and think I like, but I rarely pick up any of his LPs. This opens up with an Ellington's "Come Sunday" and then drops right into the very funky groove of "the hump". So maybe the title and these 2 tracks are supposed to juxtapose the spiritual and the secular? Maybe I am too deep. Bob Cunningham on Electric Bass make this song. Yusef splits his time between flute and tenor pretty evenly. Monroe "Bones" Constantine gets vocal credit on a couple tracks and why wouldn't you let a dude with a name that nice bust em out on your album? He turns up on Opus PTII which has a more grounded groove than the instrumental free floating Opus PTI. By "turns up" I means bust out some groans and shouts near the end of the tune. Nice work Bones. "This old building" closes out side one and goes from some weird noise/synth squiggles to a down home uptempo gospel vamp. Again no real vocals just claps and shouts and squawking sax. Shouts and claps courtesy of the JC White Singers.
Side 2 opens with a nice groove on "Prayer". Yusef is on the pneumatic flute so watch out. 2 guitarists including Hugh McCracken's second appearance in a WWDIS review. Bones is back with some moans and groans. Up next is "sunset" which has a trippy tv soundtrack feel "Help me Spock, Spock help me" if you know what I mean. About half way through the track a song appears from the haze. It also contains the traditional gospel song "his eye is on the sparrow" which to remind you was James Brown's favorite hymn. JC and his singers are back for this one and it is a straight forward take on the song with some additional sax,piano,and organ. Closing it out is "Destination Paradise". A darker vibe to this one kind of a hippie middle eastern feel with flute, 2 guitars, electric bass, and electric piano. At 3:54 it doesn't have too much time to be creepy or trip out that much and then like most tracks on here it ends before it really goes anywhere.
This is an interesting record. If feels like a rough draft or notes for a record to come later and that unfinished quality make it more memorable. Although the tentative meandering around the songs can grow old quick. Not likely to get pulled out again any time soon. Maybe it was supposed to be soundtrack material? Who knows.