Hank Crawford: Three Classic Albums Plus

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Hank Crawford, who was Ray Charles’ musical director, is joined by some of his fellow sidemen here who take the opportunity to really let their hair down on a stimulating set of blues, standards, soul tunes and ballads. The More Soul sleeve-note mysteriously refers to three titles being included – Doodln’, The Preacher and Sermonette – but they do not appear and Tom Lord’s discography does not mention them either.

James Moody’s Boo’s Tune was introduced by the composer as a delicate flute feature in 1956 but here it is a medium-tempo swinger giving everyone a chance to introduce themselves. Angel Eyes, one of the most soulful torch-songs, is a perfect vehicle for Crawford’s passionate alto.

Four Five Six is all Leroy Cooper. He was a big man apparently weighing around 300 lbs at the time with a suitably big, beefy Sahib Shihab-like sound on baritone. He is a veritable force of nature here as he storms through eight inspired choruses of the blues. Dat Dere with its intriguing alternate theme was the sequel to Bobby Timmons’ Dis Here and it finds Crawford at his most expressive while Sister Sadie is a feature for the muscular tenor of David Newman.

The leader displays his Sonny Stitt influence on an intense Please Send Me Someone To Love. It’s taken a little faster than Percy Mayfield did on his 1950 hit but it works really well. A highlight on Soul Clinic is Phillip Guilbeau’s lyrical interpretation of What A Difference A Day Made – the extended, unaccompanied coda is worthy of something Clifford Brown might have created.

The final seven tracks from 1959 were originally issued as Ray Charles In Person and they include some of the great man’s hits like The Right Time, What’d I Say and Drown In My Own Tears. On The Spirit Feel and Frenesi, Hank Crawford proves to be just as fluent on the baritone as he was on the alto.

Discography
CD: 1 [More Soul] (1) Boo’s Tune; Angel Eyes; Four Five Six; The Story; Dat Dere; Misty; Sister Sadie; [The Soul Clinic](2) Please Send Me Someone To Love; Easy Living; Playmates; What A Difference A Day Made; Me And My Baby; Lorelei’s Lament; Blue Stone (73.19)
CD2: [From The Heart] (3) Don’t Cry Baby; Sweet Cakes; (4) You’ve Changed; (3) Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand; (4) Sherri; The Peeper; (3) But On The Other Hand; Stoney Lonesome; What Will I Tell My Heart?; [Ray Charles In Person] (5) The Right Time; What’d I Say; Yes Indeed; (6) The Spirit Feel; Frenesi; (5) Drown In My Own Tears; Tell The Truth (68.21)
Crawford (as, bar, p) with:
(1) Phillip Guilbeau, John Hunt (t); David “Fathead” Newman (ts); Leroy “Hog” Cooper (bar); Edgar Willis (b); Milt Turner (d). NYC, 7 October 1960.
(2) as (1) Bruno Carr (d) replaces Turner. NYC, October 1960, February/May 1961.
(3) as (1) NYC, November 1961, April/May 1962.
(4) as (3) add Sonny Forrest (elg).
(5) Marcus Belgrave (t) replaces Guilbeau; Teagle Fleming (d) replace Carr; Ray Charles (p, v); The Raylettes (v). Atlanta, Georgia, 28 May 1959.
(6) as (5) omit Charles.
Avid Jazz AMSC1340