Lou Donaldson -Everything I Play Is Funky (1970)

Amidst a handful of LPs that individually were a jumble of mod-groovy and commercial cornball, Lou Donaldson and his happy gang truly click on this good natured album from 1970. Cultural revolution dominated the thinking of black and white America at the time, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to this upbeat Blue Note offering. Perhaps Donaldson was slyly proposing an alternative revolution to those pursued by the militant Black Panther/Weather Underground/Yippie movements of the era. After a brief faux pep-talk cum manifesto that introduces the opener, the combo leap right into a taut run-through of the Allen Toussant penned title track, a sloganeering street-march anthem (admittedly more jiving than marching) and instantly his politics are unmistakable:”Everything I play ‘gon be funky from now on!”. The lock-tight rhythm section lay a foundation of funky R&B that smiles a mile wide because it actually swings, if such a thing is possible. A more swaggering, staggering groove follows with ‘Hamp’s Hump’ containing a bubbling guitar solo from Melvyn Sparks, and again later on with the lopsided ‘Donkey Walk’ that has colourful organ work by Charles Earland. Some tracks prove the album title to be something of a misnomer with ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ being a honey drenched ballad with warm dreamy sax and Dr. Lonnie Smith’s tone-flooding Hammond B3, the sun kissed ‘West Indian Daddy’ evokes a Caribbean street-party with its insistent drive and fruity trumpet, closing with ‘Minor Bash’ which is nearer to jazz than anything else on the album. Clearly not everything he plays is gon’ be funky after all, which is smart because history tells us revolutions require malleability. However, if you want to change the world that exists inside your headphones, get wise to this. By any means necessary.

 

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