Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rahsaan Roland KIRK - Volunteered Slavery 1969

Rahsaan Roland KIRK - Volunteered Slavery 1969
SD 1534


Half studio set, half live at Newport and it's a gas throughout. Studio stuff is split between Kirkified pop covers - "My Cherie Amour," "I Say A Little Prayer," both played for laffs sometimes - and a few originals that bring a soulful, gospelly feel to the proceedings, especially on the title cut. The Newport set opens and closes with songs that feature wild flute statements and pays homage to Coltrane at all times, not just on the medley called "A Tribute to John Coltrane." Basically it's a total charmer - great and accessible fun for newbies just cutting their teeth on Kirk's catalog, but seriously good-and-heavy stuff going down for the aficionados to dig into over time. One of his most playable records.
The opening funky intro of the title track leads you into a false sense of security about what kind of album you are about to hear, when the vocals come in they kind of sound a bit like Love Supreme which makes you think again about what you are listening to and then when the sax comes in you know this is going to kick all kinds of ass. This is one of the most exciting opening tracks I can think of (though fair enough I'm listening to it right now which makes it difficult to think of to many other things). I love the way the bass is recorded slightly too loud so that it occasionally begins to fight with the rest of the music a bit and the way the vocals in the background sound all chaotic. In short this sounds RAW which is a really good way to describe the album.
The second track "Spirits Up Above" is the first tune to dabble with a gospel choir and doesn't really reach the full potential of what Kirk is trying to do here for that you need to listen to "Search For The Reason Why".
The two soul covers "My Cherie Amour" and "I Say A Little Prayer" are amazing and rip up excellent tunes turning them into wild psychedelic-jazz freak outs.
The live tracks (which mad up side B of the original vinyl pressing dividing the album really nicely) are absolutely amazing. They demonstrate Roland Kirk's versatility, showmanship and musicianship fantastically. The way he plays multiple instruments at the same time or switches from one instrument to the other seemingly without stopping for breath and the way he sings and plays flute at the same time are unbelievable. He absolutely deserves the standing ovation at the end of the John Coltrane tribute which totally showcases his ability to play light and mellow as well as hard and free.
A Blinder!
Rahsaan Roland Kirk- Tenor Sax, Flute, Nose Flute, Manzello, Stritch, Gong, Whistle & Vocals
Charles McGee- Trumpet
Dick Griffin- Trombone
Ron Burton- Piano
Vernon Martin- Bass
Sonny Brown, Jimmy Hopps or Charles Crosby- Drums
A1. Volunteered Slavery 5:46
A2. Spirits Up Above 3:39
A3. My Cherie Amour 3:21
A4. Search for the Reason Why 2:09
A5. I Say a Little Prayer 8:02
B1. Roland's Opening Remarks 0:40
B2. One Ton 5:01
B3. Ovation and Roland's Remarks 1:47
B4. A Tribute to John Coltrane 8:09
a) Lush Life
b) Afro-Blue
c) Bessie's Blues
B5. Three for the Festival 4:28

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