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The Crusaders – 1976 – Those Southern Knights

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the crusaders Those Southern Knights front

Apart from the title’s terrible pun on the Glenn Campbell hit of the mid 70s, this album’s a real treat – a very soulful batch of smooth funky jazz tunes by The Crusaders, who by this point have fully emerged to claim the throne of the pop soul jazz genre they virtually invented.

The record’s got razor-sharp production, which you’ll hear perfectly in the album’s jazz stepping hit “Keep That Same Old Feeling“, one of the best tunes ever to come from the pen of Wayne Henderson, and a track that he recorded endlessly with other groups.

The crusaders can’t do no wrong. From sweet, peaceful ballads to super funky rhythms… and all mixed up with good old jazz, the same recipe.

A1 Spiral 6:14
A2 Keep That Same Old Feeling 5:36
A3 My Mama Told Me So 4:50
A4 Til’ the Sun Shines 2:42
B1 And Then There Was the Blues 9:43
B2 Serenity 7:17
B3 Feeling Funky 3:00

the crusaders Those Southern Knights back

Here, we still have the Crusader’s classic lineup: Wayne Henderson, trombone, Wilton Felder, tenor sax, Joe Sample, keyboards, Stix Hooper, drums, Pops Popwell, bass and Larry Carlton, guitar. Each note, each chord is placed with almost somnambulist sureness. A good choice of songs and there you are: a very pleasant easy-listening – or crossover – or Soul-Jazz (whatever) album by those southern knights. We used to dance to Keep That Same Old Feeling at the club. Those were the days…

I was first introduced to “The Crusaders” by my music teacher at secondary school to inspire some jazz-funk improvisation. I’m a huge fan of jazz and funk, and “The Crusaders” manage to fuse these two styles together perfectly. I think that this fusion is emphasized more in “Those Southern Knights” than any other album.
Being a cornet player, I can fully appreciate the large part that wind instruments play in “Those Southern Knights”.

Vocals are not used too frequently, but to be honest, I feel that there is little need for them. The improvisations of sax and trumpet are amazing – the rich range of timbres really does take you into another dimension. Each song is based on typically jazz chord progressions and a few “funk” chords which add to the overall effect. The songs range from soulful (but not too cheesy!) ballads to full on funk fusion.
I would recommend this to anyone with a liking of jazz or funk.

“Those Southern Knights” is certainly my favorite example of jazz and funk fusion.