Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wynder K. Frog - 1968 - Out Of The Frying Pan

Wynder K. Frog 
Out Of The Frying Pan

01. Jumping Jack Flash
02. Gasoline Alley
03. Willie And The Hand Jive
04. Harpsichord Shuffle
05. Baby I Love You
06. This Here
07. Green Door
08. Bad Eye
09. Alexander's Ragtime Band
10. Tequila
11. The House That Jack Built
12. Hymn To Freedom
13. High Heel Sneakers
Bonus Track:
14. Baldy

Mick Weaver - keyboards
Dick Heckstall-Smith - saxophone
Neil Hubbard - guitar
Alan Spenner - bass
Chris Mercer - saxophone
Bruce Rowland - drums
Ron Carthy - horn
Rebop Kwaku Baah - percussion

Remarkable, fresh and joyful. These three words are the best I found to describe this album. When I got it, most the original songs, instrumentally covered on it, were already known. It didn't matter; they sound as if they are brand new songs. From Rock hits such as Rolling Stones' Jumping Jack flash, to Soul gems such as Aretha Franklin's Baby I love you, to Jazz standards such as Oscar Peterson's Hymn to freedom or Bobby Timmons' This here. Two songs are penned by Mick Weaver, Wynder K. Frogg's real name, who is the leader playing Hammond organ and piano, backed by an incredible and powerful band including Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer on saxes and Henry Lowther on trumpet, all of them from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers' horn section; Reebop Kwaku Baah from Traffic on percussion; Mick Weaver replaced Steve Winwood in Traffic for a short while when the last left the band to join Eric Clapton and form Blind Faith. Traffic became Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog, soon shortened to Wooden Frog. They played a few gigs before dissolving three months later when Traffic reformed. The rest of Wynder K. Frog's band includes Neil Hubbard on guitar, Alan Spenner on bass and Bruce Rowland on drums. Last but not least, the record producers Gus Dudgeon and Jimmy Miller, responsible for that terrific sound. Released in 1968, it took more than 25 years to get the CD reissue; however, it didn't lose its freshness and joy. Through the years Mick Weaver has been the keyboard player for great blues artists such as Taj Mahal, Otis Grant and Keef Hartley, to name just a few.

Very accomplished organ quintet with an added horn section. Mick Weaver's robust, muscular approach to the B-3 is a joy. Solid support from Joe Cocker's Grease Band: Neil Hubbard on guitar, Alan Spenner on bass and Bruce Rowland on drums with soon-to-join Traffic, Reebop on percussion. Strong horn arrangments using John Mayall's horn section: Dick Heckstall-Smith and Chris Mercer on saxes and Henry Lowther on trumpet. The songs are a mix of standards and original songs that hold up well next to American originators like Big John Patton and Brother Jack McDuff. The two stand out tracks, Green Door and Hi Heel Sneakers, were produced by the legendary Jimmy Miller and have a nice "Spencer Davis Group" type of vibe. The remainder of the cuts were produced by Gus Dudgeon, who later became famous as Elton John's producer. Very enjoyable set from an unjustly forgotten artist.

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