martes, 3 de noviembre de 2009
Merry Clayton: Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow (1975) ... plus
Merry Clayton was among the most ubiquitous session singers of the '70s when she provided background vocals for everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Linda Ronstadt, Ringo Starr, Carole King, and Jerry Garcia to Billy Preston, the Blackbyrds, and the Brothers Johnson. She is especially famous for her contributions to the Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter' in 1969. But regrettably, Clayton wasn't as successful as a solo artist. One of the solid, but overlooked, solo albums Clayton recorded in the '70s was Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow, a really cool collaboration between her and Eugene McDaniels, a producer who really takes her music into new territory here. As with other perfect productions by McDaniels in the '70s, Gene really grabs the whole thing up and makes it his own adding a lot more funk to the mix than you might expect, and electrifying the instrumentation in ways that bump up Merry's vocals nicely. Even better, though (he wrote a number of tunes for the set) the kind of off-beat soul numbers that are typical from Eugene's own work, which help Merry move into a hip range of themes and topics. There's a righteous mix of funky jazz and soul on the record, a bit like the sound of Marlena Shaw's Blue Note albums, and McDaniels titles include 'Gold Fever', 'If I Lose', 'Gets Hard Sometimes', and 'Sink or Swim'. Other highlights range from the gritty 'Do What You Know' and a very funky remake of Bob Dylan's 'Rainy Day Women #12 & 35' to Deniece Williams' 'How'd I Know That Love Would Slip Away,' which Clayton recorded before either the Emotions or Williams herself. The title track, meanwhile, is the memorable theme song from the '70s cop show Baretta. I added SEVEN bonus tracks, consisting on the four cuts she contributed with to the Brewster McCloud's OST (1970), her impassioned rendition of 'The Acid Queen,' taken from the adaptation that The London Symphony Orchestra made of the Who's rock opera Tommy in 1972, and two tracks from the Big Sur Folk Festival, recorded live in Monterrey, which were compiled on the 1971's Celebration album. http://www.dustygroove.com/,http://www.allmusic.com/. Thanks to EliotW for sharing this!
Merry Clayton performing 'Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow' on Soul Train, 1975: