Friday, December 18, 2015

Leon Thomas - 1971 - Gold Sunrise on Magic Mountain

Leon Thomas 
Gold Sunrise on Magic Mountain

01. The Honey Man / Chains Of Love   
02. Cousin Mary   
03. Na Na / Umbo Weti   

Leon Thomas: vocals, percussion
Neal Creque: piano
Cornell Dupree: guitar
Victor Gaskin: bass
Oliver Nelson: alto saxophone
Na-Na: percussion, berimbau
Sonny Morgan: congas
David Lee Jr.: drums

In his best moments, Leon Thomas is completely unreal, otherworldly. Unfortunately, in between he is a pretty average blues/soul singer. All of his solo albums are combinations of fantastic vocal artistry and pretty standard tunes. On Gold Sunrise on Magic Mountain, a live recording from Montreux 1971, they are at least neatly divided on the two sides of this LP: side one is the conventional blues, not bad, but not particularly special, even though the vocal version of John Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" is pretty adventurous and a good introduction to what awaits the listener on side two, which is a captivating 16-minute hypnotic groove over which Thomas practices his weird vocal stylings and his alien yodelling. Probably not essential for novices, but Leon Thomas fans definitely need this.

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