Monday, December 12, 2011

Zoot Money's Big Roll Band - It Should've Been Me (1965)

Zoot Money's debut LP, released on EMI's Columbia label in 1965, represents a side of the British Invasion that never quite took hold on U.S. shores -- steeped in American R&B but offering a sextet's attack on saxes and organ, theirs wasn't enough of a guitar-oriented sound to get a fair hearing in the U.S., though the guitarist here is Andy Somers (aka Andy Summers, who takes a hot solo on "Along Came John"). That doesn't mean it's not worth hearing, even 40 years later -- the renditions of numbers written by or associated with James Brown ("I'll Go Crazy"), Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson ("Back Door Blues"), et al., knocked off in a single day's recording, is superb R&B regardless of its point of origin, and might even (and might still) turn a head or two. The big surprise, however, may be the gently swinging reinterpretation of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Rock and Roller," which manages to successfully straddle a couple of major music stylistic eras. And the Paul Williams-sung "Rags and Old Iron" is a dark, brilliant blues showcase for saxman Clive Burrows and Money's organ, as well as Williams' pipes.

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