quarta-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2019

Freddy Robinson - Bluesology (1999)

                                                              Freddy Robinson
Blues fans know him as one of harp genius Little Walter's studio accompanists during the latter portion of his tenure at Chess. Jazz aficionados are aware of him for the albums he did for World Pacific. Freddy Robinson has been one versatile guitarist across the decades.
Robinson played both bass and guitar behind Walter at Chess circa 1959-1960. His own recording career commenced in 1962 with a jazz-laced instrumental pairing, "The Buzzard"/"The Hawk," for King's short-lived Queen subsidiary. He gave singing a try in 1966, cutting "Go-Go Girl" for Checker (with Barbara Acklin and Mamie Galore helping out as background vocalists). By 1968, he was recording with pianist Monk Higgins and the Blossoms (Darlene Love's vocal group) in Los Angeles for Cobblestone.
Blues fans may find the material Robinson cut for a Stax LP in 1972 noteworthy; "At the Drive-In" and "Bluesology" are in-the-alley blues efforts that hark back to the guitarist's early days in Chicago. Robinson later recorded for Al Bell's ICA logo. Bill Dahl, AMG

Freddy or Freddie (it is spelled both ways on the album covers) Robinson's trek from Mississippi to Arkansas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Memphis before becoming a Muslim and changing his name to Abu Talib is well documented. Though he did not entirely drop out of the music business, he did lapse into obscurity. Half of these sessions, originally from the LPs At the Drive-In and Off the Cuff for the Stax affiliate Enterprise label, were ostensibly his swan songs. They emphasize the burgeoning soul-funk of the time that was bordering on disco. Robinson did indeed stray from his blues roots for a more commercial sound, replete with strings, backup singers, and horns. Still, it's clear Robinson was a very talented guitarist, harmonicist, and especially singer. The first three cuts, featuring Jazz Crusaders pianist Joe Sample and bassist Wilton Felder show the most promise, during the talkin' low-down dirty autobiographical "Bluesology," a soul-blues winner "I Found My Soul Last Night," and the straight 12-bar blues "At the Drive-In." The next 11 selections veer into the more contemporary R&B of the time, somewhat varying from the outstanding instrumental opening before the after-the-fact singing on "Off the Cuff," the goofy "Medicine Man," and hokey tunes like "Try It One More Time" and "I Remember." There's also a good 'n' slow typical Chicago blues "Changing Dreams," a very good take of Percy Mayfield's "River's Invitation" with Sample's outstanding piano playing, and some fine backup horn playing from trumpeter Oscar Brashear and trombonist George Bohannon. The remainder of the date features previously unissued material done in Memphis at the Stax studios with the back-up band of Isaac Hayes and the Memphis Symphony in a string of forgettable, derivative soul-pop tunes. You get a remake of "The Creeper," a pure cop of Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff" titled "Sister Hot Pants," a Wes Montgomery/George Benson sound-alike "Black Fox," and the Ray Charles flavored "Good Feeling." A fine interpretation of the standard "After Hours," featuring Robinson's tasty guitar, is the clear highlight of these generally overproduced, bland tunes. It is a shame that only a handful of these cuts will appeal to blues fans who may have appreciated Robinson, knowing his previous work with Jimmy Dawkins, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, or Charles. Michael G. Nastos, AMG

Credits:

Freddy Robinson - Vocals, Guitar & Harmonica
Al Vescovo - Guitar
Wilton Felder & Sugar Bear - Bass
Paul Humphrey, Harold Mason & Willie Hall - Drums & Percussion
Monk Higgins, Joe Sample & Lester Snell - Piano & Organ
Red Holloway, Delbert Hill, Oscar Brashear & George Bohanon - Horns
Alex Brown, Clydie King, Vanetta Fields, Deborah Lindsey, Darlene Love - Bckgr Vocals
The Sidney Sharp String Section & The Memphis Symphony Orchestra

Tracklist:

01. Bluesology 6:20
02. I Found My Soul Last Night 4:07
03. At the Drive-In 4:05
04. Off the Cuff 4:00
05. Medicine Man 2:55
06. The River's Invitation 3:01
07. Changing Dreams 4:22
08. Try It One Time 2:52
09. Georgia on My Mind 4:29
10. You're on My Side 3:07
11. I Remember 3:11
12. Here Comes Your Good Thang 2:35
13. House Hunting 3:06
14. After Hours 5:38
15. The Creeper 3:28
16. Sister Hot Pants 3:43
17. Treat Her Like a Lady 4:05
18. Good Feeling 3:38
19. Teddy Bear 2:25
20. Black Fox 6:16

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