LP Reviews: Sam & Dave, James Brown, Chet Atkins, and the Mothers of Invention

Sam And Dave: Double Dynamite (Stax 589003)

SOME NICE arrangements throughout this, the latest album from the Sam and Dave team. It’s well up to their usual standard, and definitely won’t lose them any fans. The 12 tracks vary between the ballady ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’, and the powerhouse version of ‘Soothe Me’. The most interesting number on this album is ‘Home At Last’. It starts with fade-in drums, moves to a gentle beat, continues with a soft vocal, then breaks into a series of guitar and piano solos before fading again.

Side One: ‘You Got Me Hummin”; ‘Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody’; ‘That’s The Way It’s Gonna Be’; ‘When Something Is Wrong With My Baby’; ‘Soothe Me’; ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’.

Side Two: ‘Sweet Pains’; ‘I’m Your Puppet’; ‘Sleep Good Tonight’; ‘I Don’t Need Nobody (To Tell Me About My Baby)’; ‘Home At Last’; ‘Use Me’.

James Brown: A Handful Of Soul (BL 7761)

JAMES BROWN gives his overworked voice a rest and offers A Handful Of Soul. He plays organ and is backed by the big band, which swings as well as usual, with the jangling guitar and jumping bass that has made his sound so well known. The brass stabs nicely but, somehow, overall there’s a notable lack of enthusiasm. Perhaps it takes the leader’s grating voice to get the whole show on the road, record-wise.

On the cover Brown pays tribute to Nathaniel Jones, director of the James Brown band, songwriter and arranger. These are all his arrangements but, quite honestly, they lack any real inspiration. The same goes for Mr. Brown’s organ playing: he would be better leaving the organ playing to the established clan and keep right on to the end of his groove, showing them that he’s the king of scream vocals.

It’s a good album to have churning away while you tuck into the cheese and Twiglets at a party but, otherwise, it’s a buy for James Brown fans only.

Side One: ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’; ‘Hold On, I’m Cornin”; ‘Our Day Will Come’; ‘Message’; ‘The King’.

Side Two: ‘634-5789’; ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’; ‘Hot Mix’; ‘Oh! Henry’; ‘Get Loose’.

Chet Atkins: From Nashville With Love (RCA Victor RD 7838)

HERE ARE 12 tracks from Chet “Mr. Guitar” Atkins. This time he’s in a very romantic mood, but his guitar playing is still as perfect as ever. On some tracks he does sound a little bit mechanical, but on others — ‘Stranger On The Shore’ is a good example — his guitar says more than any voice could. The majority of tracks are uncomplicated and easy on the ear. Two of them — ‘Drina’ and ‘English Leather’ — are more C&W flavoured than romantic, but the “feel” is still there.

‘Drina’ starts with a ‘Running Scared’ type rhythm, and switches from a straight melody to a double-tempo, double-tracked C&W number. In ‘English Leather’, Chet plays right across the beat, but still stays romantic. The most poignant track is ‘The Theme From Moulin Rouge’. It’s one of those numbers that you swear you know, but can’t think of what it reminds you. The opening of this particular track is played in harmonics, one thing at which Chet is a past-master. If you’re a guitarist, then get this album for guitar-playing perfection. If you’re not a guitarist, still buy it. It’s beautiful.

Side One: ‘La Fiesta’; ‘The Song From Moulin Rouge’; ‘Something Tender’; ‘Romance’; ‘Drina’; ‘Al-Di-La’.

Side Two: ‘From Nashville With Love’; ‘English Leather’; ‘After The Tears’; ‘Stranger On The Shore’; ‘Soul Journey’; ‘I Love Paris’.

Mothers of Invention: Freak Out (VLP 9154)

WE’VE HEARD a great deal about the American two-album version. Here in Britain we’ve wound up with just one album containing 11 tracks. They are well chosen and are representative of a good, double discer.

The first thing you must decide before even dropping the needle into the freaky grooves is how you are going to take the record and what you hear on it. It should be regarded as a musical form of Batman, and the same rules of attitude exist. If you take it seriously then you won’t get any enjoyment from it, and will dismiss it as rubbish. But if, on the other hand, you retain your sense of humour, you’ll like it. The whole record is a deliberate send-up of the trashy American pop scene with here and there, sexual connotations and some vague, social comment.

Musically the album is well made and free-form passages can get under your skin. There is an excellent rock guitarist featured on the album.

Side One: ‘Hungry Freaks Daddy’; ‘I Ain’t Got No Heart’; ‘Who Are The Brain Police’; ‘Motherly Love’; ‘Wowie Zowie’; ‘You Didn’t Try To Call Me’; ‘I’m Not Satisfied’; ‘You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here’.

Side Two: ‘Trouble Cornin’ Everyday’; ‘Help, I’m A Rock’; ‘The Return Of Monster Magnet’.

© uncredited writerBeat Instrumental, April 1967

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