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Big Black – 1971 – If You’re Diggin’ What You’re Doin’ Keep On Doin’ What You’re Diggin’

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Big Black If You're Diggin' front

Soul/rock with some strong psych flavored moments, featuring fuzz guitar and lots of Afro/Latin rhythms.

So this is what it was supposed to sound like!  Big Black’s “If You’re Diggin’ What You’re Doin’…” is a grin-inducing slice of early ‘70’s funk-rock that gives his conga playing a context instead of being subordinate to it.  And he keeps the groove goin’ too.  The hypnotic chant “Long Hair” sounds like The Incredible String Band after a vacation in Watts.  “Children’s Philosophy (Poison Air)” is an anthem celebrating both the environment and the hippie spirit, carried by the deep resonance of Black’s voice.  

Big Black If You're Diggin' back

Side two opens with the instrumental groove “234 Northwest Twelfth”, which slides into a second instrumental / chant, “Gwagwa”.  The second tune revisits the Afrocentric themes of his earlier albums, but is much more tightly structured than anything from Message or Elements.  Just in case you thought that the title track was a fluke, the album closes with the equally catchy “Who Ever Thought”, and the wah-wah dominated Dead-ish jam “You And Me”.  Whereas his earlier albums sought to touch the spirits of his African ancestors, this album will touch the spirits of all who listen.  If vinyl could smile, it would sound like this.