This fine soul-jazz/R&B release is a real showcase for Hank Crawford’s talents as alto sax soloist and arranger for horns (featuring David Newman on tenor and Pepper Adams on baritone). The skills he learned as musical director for Ray Charles in the early 60’s are used to full effect here. This is an album of two halves as it is comprised of sessions recorded two years apart in October 1965 and November 1967. There is plenty of variety and nimble playing on a mixed programme of sprightly tunes combined with selections that are quite greasy and soulful. Crawford doubles on piano on two tracks and Jack McDuff appears on “In The Heat of the Night”. “Mud Island Blues” is a super swinging highlight that sounds like a long lost Motown B-side, and the guitar solo in “Glue Fingers” is so messed up it’s inspired.
The cover art is by the under-appreciated Polish artist Stanisław Zagórski. Here is a taste of his distinctive work.