December 14, 1999
Beat Goes On
Jazz, British Invasion, Regional Blues, Blues-Rock, British Blues

Album Review

This two-LPs-on-one-CD package is essential listening for anyone who is seriously interested in either British blues, the Rolling Stones' early sound, or the history of popular music, in England or America, during the late '50s and early '60s. In England during the years 1957-1962, jazz and blues used to intermix freely, especially among younger blues enthusiasts and more open-minded jazzmen -- by 1963, most of the former had gone off to form bands like the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Pretty Things, etc., with guitars a the forefront of their sound, while the latter (most notably British blues godfather Alexis Korner) kept some jazz elements in their work. The Graham Bond Organization (along with Zoot Money's Big Roll Band and other, similar outfits) represented the jazzier side of the British blues boom, less charismatic and sexually provocative than blues-rock bands like the Stones or the Yardbirds, but no less potent a product of the same inspiration, sax and organ being much more prominent in their sound. Indeed, Bond's playing on the organ as represented on this CD is the distant antecedent to Keith Emerson's more ambitious keyboard excursions of 3-4 years later, without the incessant copping of classical riffs. The playing and singing (by Graham Bond and a young Jack Bruce) are curiously soulful, and when Ginger Baker takes a solo on "Oh Baby," it's a beautiful, powerful, even lyrical experience (as drum solos go), and one of those bold, transcendant, virtuoso moments, akin to Brian Jones' harmonica solo on the Stones' version of "Hi Heel Sneakers." The band was more exciting on stage, as the evidence of their one surviving early live performance indicates, but they were worth hearing on record as well. In a universe that was fair and idealized, this CD and the two albums contained on it would rank right up there in sales with anything (including the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album) that John Mayall ever released, and Bond also proves himself a more fervent and exciting figure here than Mayall ever seemed on his records.
Bruce Eder, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
  2. Baby Make Love to Me
  3. Neighbour, Neighbour
  4. Early in the Morning
  5. Spanish Blues
  6. Oh Baby
  7. Little Girl
  8. I Want You
  9. Wade in the Water
  10. Got My Mojo Working
  11. Train Time
  12. Baby Be Good to Me
  13. Half a Man
  14. Tammy
  15. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  16. Hear Me Calling Your Name
  17. The Night Time Is the Right Time
  18. Walking in the Park
  19. Last Night
  20. Baby Can It Be True?
  21. What'd I Say
  22. Dick's Instrumental
  23. Don't Let Go
  24. Keep A-Drivin'
  25. Have You Ever Loved a Woman?
  26. Camels and Elephants