Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hubert Laws - 1969 - Crying Song

Hubert Laws 
Crying Song

01. La Jean 2:30
02. Love Is Blue / Sing A Rainbow 3:20
03. Crying Song 4:50
04. Listen To The Band 3:20
05. I've Gotta Get A Message To You 3:05
06. Feelin' Alright? 2:30
07. Cymbaline 3:55
08. How Long Will It Be? 5:50
09. Let It Be 3:30

Bass – Mike Leech (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4), Ron Carter (tracks: A3, B2, B3)
Cello – Charles McCracken (tracks: A1, A2), George Ricci (tracks: A1, A2)
Drums – Bill Cobham (tracks: A3), Gene Chrisman (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4), Grady Tate (tracks: B2, B3)
Flute – Hubert Laws
Guitar – George Benson (tracks: A3, B2, B3), Reggie Young (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Organ – Bobby Emmons (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Organ, Piano – Bob James (tracks: A3, B2, B3)
Piano – Bobby Wood (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Saxophone – Art Clarke (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4), Seldon Powell (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Trombone – Garnett Brown (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4), Tony Studd (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Ernie Royal (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4), Marvin Stamm (tracks: A1, A2, A4, A5, B1, B4)
Violin – Avram Weiss (tracks: A1, A2), Gene Orloff (tracks: A1, A2), George Ockner (tracks: A1, A2), Lewis Eley (tracks: A1, A2), Matthew Raimondi (tracks: A1, A2), Max Pollikoff (tracks: A1, A2), Paul Gershman (tracks: A1, A2), Raoul Poliakin (tracks: A1, A2), Sylvan Shulman (tracks: A1, A2)

Recorded July 23 (A5, A4), 24 (A2, B1, A1, B4), 1969, American Sounds Studio, Memphis
Recorded September 23 (A3), 24 (B3, B2), 1969, Van Gelder Studios

Hubert Laws occupies rather an ambivalent position in critical estimation. He was very unusual in concentrating on the flute but signing for Creed Taylor and his band of Memphis Soul specialists should have orientated him squarely in the vanguard of late 1960s Jazz. If the precedent was another elite flautist, Herbie Mann – who’d already had a hit single for Atlantic – then the decision was sound. But if these three LPs, made between 1969 and 1971, didn’t seem somewhat incongruous stylistically at the time – and they did, to many people – they certainly do today.

That’s not to denigrate Laws, whose tone is utterly ravishing throughout, but the attempt in the first album, Crying Song, to construct a pop album with fringe Memphis and Country Soul stylings was never going to satisfy the purists. Others, such as Keith Jarrett and Gary Burton, were naturally situated along Country Roads and their albums of the late 60s showed strong affinities for the genre within a broader musical context. But Laws’ first album, despite the presence of stellar sidemen such as Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, and on several tracks George Benson – along with a raft of other superb players – fails to cohere. Country Soul, the Monkees, mild Psychedelia, the Bee Gees and Lennon/McCartney with sitar impersonations; well, it’s a big ask for much of this to stand the sterner tests of time.