Lou Donaldson – 1970 – Everything I Play Is Funky
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The title’s no lie – because the album is one of the shining jewels of Lou Donaldson’s legendary funk years for Blue Note – that second period when he returned to the label at the end of the 60s, and really helped redefine the sound of soul jazz at the time! The format here is very much the same as other Donaldson classics from the time – like Hot Dog or Possum Head – in that the tracks are long, open, and plenty darn grooving – locked in some funky rhythms that feature Idris Muhammad on some very heavy drums! Other players are great too – and include Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Melvin Sparks on guitar, and Lonnie Smith on Hammond – all cooking things up nicely on tracks that include “West Indian Daddy”, “Donkey Walk”, “Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky”, and “Hamp’s Hump”.
A1 Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On) 5:31
A2 Hamp’s Hump 6:40
A3 Over the Rainbow 7:11
B1 Donkey Walk 6:44
B2 West Indian Daddy 6:30
B3 Minor Bash 6:14
Lou Donaldson is perhaps the one musician who adapted most gracefully to the changes in jazz in the late 1960s, when Blue Note’s style of choice suddenly took a sharp turn from post bop to jazz funk, incorporating elements of pop, soul and easy listening.
Donaldson, actually half a generation older than most of the avantgardists, was originally a bebopper with a strong Charlie Parker influence; the ease with which he works the funk register is therefore all the more surprising. Sure, he produced a fair share of commercial goo, albums that are best forgotten in retrospect, but Everything I Play Is Funkypositively lives up to the promise of its title. Following Alligator Bogaloo and Midnight Creeper, it’s the third in a series of eminently listenable and enjoyable albums.
As on the previous albums, there is great support from Lonnie Smith on organ; the guitarist of choice on this album is Melvin Sparks, who’s not quite as versed as George Benson, but still contributes some funky licks. As for the tracks, there’s no “Alligator Bogaloo” or “One Cylinder” here, but “Hamp’s Hump” uses a strong Lonnie Smith vamp, and “Donkey Walk” and “West Indian Daddy” may not be all that substantial, but they’re fun to listen to. The Alain Touissant title track is rendered flawlessly; the only odd track here is a surprisingly sentimental (though successful) rendering of “Over the Rainbow”.