Tuesday, March 28, 2017

O'Donel Levy - 1971 - Black Velvet

O'Donel Levy
Black Velvet

01. Watch What Happens
02. Granny
03. I'll Close My Eyes
04. Nature's Child
05. Love Story
06. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
07. I'll Be There
08. Misty
09. Call Me
10. You've Made Me So Very Happy

Bass – Alarza Lee Collins
Congas – Nathaniel Rice, Jr.
Drums – Chester Thompson
Electric Piano, Organ – Charles Covington
Guitar – O'Donel Levy
Percussion – William Thorpe
Saxophone [Tenor], Flute – Arthur 'Fats' Theus
Trumpet – Billy Skinner

As its title portends, Black Velvet boasts a smooth, rich texture absent from O'Donel Levy's subsequent Groove Merchant sessions -- its mellow, stoned-soul sensibilities nevertheless complement the guitarist perfectly, affording him the space to weave a series of righteously beautiful solos. Like so many Groove Merchant efforts, the album relies far too much on the pop charts for material -- pap like "You've Made Me So Very Happy," "I'll Be There," and "Theme from Love Story" turns up like bad pennies -- but the arrangements are lovely, spotlighting contributions from organist Charles Covington, reedist Fats Theus, and trumpeter Billy Skinner. Levy also proves himself a composer of some distinction, contributing a pair of charming originals, "Granny" and "Nature's Child."

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