Black Talk!/Black Drops Charles Earland


Soul Jazz
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Black Talk! and Black Drops were the first two albums organist Charles Earland cut for the Prestige label after the 1969 session for Choice that produced his album Soul Crib. Made respectively on December 15, 1969 and June 1, 1970, they feature tough, funky, swinging little groups, in whose ranks lurk saxophonists Houston Person and Jimmy Heath, trumpeter Virgil Jones (he's the only participant on both albums), trombonist Clayton Pruden, guitarists Melvin Sparks and Maynard Parker, drummers Idris Muhammad and Jimmy Turner and conga player Buddy Caldwell. The 'Black' in the titles of both albums is appropriate - this is funky modern jazz music, with deep roots in both the church and the barrelhouse. Earland's bluesy organ playing even convinces on (the then new, but now hackneyed) Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (a big hit at the time as part of the movie Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid). Earland, Heath, Person and Jones are all magnificent, both soloing and in the ensembles while the rhythm team 'cooks' (as Slim Gaillard used to say) like crazy. Earland has made a lot of albums as leader since these two (at least seventeen more!) but these (in particular Black Talk!) are among his very best.


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