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ANNT recommends: Sweet Double Hipness

December 3, 2009

In what I hope will become a regular series where we recommend an album that we think is worthy of attention. It could be something new, something old, it could be something mind-numbingly obscure, or something blindingly obvious. A series that is part review, part digging the crates for gems, part simple recommendation. A series in which I am going to start with something possibly not very well known and something which I think deserves a higher profile – the Harold Ousley LP ‘Sweet Double Hipness’. Released in 1972 on the ever excellent Muse label, this is just straight ahead funky jazz. No pretensions. No gimmicks. It’s head-nodding from the get-go and just never lets up. 

Saxophonist Harold Ousley is joined by Norman Simmons and Neal Creque on piano, Victor Sproles and Jay Leonhart on bass, Steve Butler and Jim Young on drums, Ralph Dorsey on congas, Steve Kroon and Danny Barrajanos on percussion, Bob Rose on guitar and Holly Hamilton & Edna Holt on vocals. Obviously, the cover is going to grab your attention if you stumble across the LP when digging (well, you don’t often see mesh pants these days..), but luckily the music is also just as attention-grabbing. ‘Unkle Funky’ starts us off with a hypnotic bass groove and that is followed by a killer cover version – something I always love. It is hard to better the Freddie Hubbard version, obviously, but Ousely and gang have a pretty good go with their take on ‘Return Of The Prodigal Son’ and while it might not reach the Hubbard heights it was good enough for me to use on my August mix for this site!

‘Come Get It, I Got It’, whose drums, bass and barking(!) start need to be sampled by Paul White or some other industrious beat-maker – it is just begging to be used. From that funky intro it just grows and grows with the organ adding another dimension. Superb. As is the title track, which has the female vocalists joining in with Ousley’s sax line to great affect. It’s Bop with added percussion and voices and while it won’t get the jazz dancers sweaty it is – as it should be in this series – recommended.

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