Heavy and Alive (K20034) (1972)

SAM_0342With the sleeve, title and typography to suggest nothing less than a Thin Lizzy in concert Lp, this excellent early 70s Atlantic Records soul-jazz compilation is almost comically desperate in its attempts to appeal to the callow youth weaned on Sixeventies Rock.

Barry Graves’ liner notes takes this notion several ludicrous steps further. To wit:

  • Alright, you, push back your headphones and give me that Mick Jagger-type high camp look of disgust: ‘I don’t care about your jazz’. I should have guessed that Neil Young is stronger than blue notes.
  • You burn incense at Jimi’s grave while the wind cries Mary, and you tell everybody that Pete Townshend is a close relative of yours. Why should you be bothered by jazz?
  • You like flaming keyboards…and you wouldn’t mind being drowned by foaming tambourines and splashing congas?
  • And then you catch a glimpse of Miles Davis, all high-heeled silver boots and red-hot bell bottoms, whipping it out under the magic spot-lights of the ‘Fillmore’. 
  • Today jazz can be caught wearing dashikis, flashing the peace sign, toying with Moog synthesizers, getting all those space-out freaks back to dancing and displaying as much soul as you need to make black look beautiful.
  • Modern jazz sound[s] now!, ‘together’, ‘far out’ [and has] got itself electrified by Hendrix and 16-tracked by rock stereo ingenuity to maintain the vitality of the young.
  • The skilfulness of its musicians is combed Afro-style and sports hippie beads, their creative power knows the headlines by heart.
  • Etc., etc., etc.SAM_0343

Despite its vintage, only one track, Herbie Hancock’s Ostinato, sounds at all post-Bitches Brew. Most of the rest rely on the boogie beat and/or raga drone to supply their modernism. Flutes prevail on several selections. All are worthwhile.

Thrifty Thrifty Vinyl readers needn’t be alarmed by the £5 sticker on the cover. I paid £2 for this last Sat.

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Published in: on April 22, 2014 at 8:36 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. the cover looks like a grand funk railroad album to me (why did the include “funk” in their name? they certainly never played any to my knowledge). despite the misleading sleeve (maybe atlantic were hoping to pitch their jazzers at zeplin fans?) it looks like a worthwhile buy for a couple of quid…

    • For me, definitely worthwhile; for a 16-year old follower of Iron Butterfly circa 1972, less so.

  2. Prompted in part by you (inasmuch as I recognized the sleeve and after initially trawling VG+ I realised it was here that I had seen it) I bought a copy of this album at Topsham antigue market a couple of weeks ago. In truth I didn’t need any prompting, the tracklisting sold it to me straightaway. An extremely worthwhile album that also cost me £2 (er, or it might have been £3 – that’s the antique market premium for you). I also picked up a handful of other albums at said emporium, including an excellent Isley Brothers comp on Dutch MFP. Mrs Darce indulged in yet another pair of earrings as she got bored waiting for me to trawl thru the vinyl. (Yes, I know, that would be yet another pair of earrings to go with yet another clutch of vinyl – we all collect something!).

  3. … how did that g get into my first stab at antique?!

    • Antigua? Antigone? Antigen? Who knows what you were thinking?


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