Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Lowell Fulsom ”Tramp”

Lowell Fulsom

( LP Kent Records, 1966-’67 )
Catalog # 520/5020

01. Tramp [1966]
02. I´m Sinkin’ [1966]
03. Get Your Game Up Tight [1967]
04. Back Door Key [1966]
05. Two Way Wishing [1967]
06. Lonely Day [1966]
07. Black Nights [1965]
08. Year Of 29 [1967]
09. No Hard Feeling [1967]
10. Hustler´s Game [1967]
11. Goin’ Home [1967]
12. Pico [1967]
13. Year Of 29 (Alt. Take) [1967]
14. Tramp (take 1) [1966]

Very nice work from Lowell Fulsom — strongly in the mode of his Tramp album for Kent, with a mix of blues and 60s soul, coming together in a sock-hard style that’s much better than a lot of Fulsom’s other work for other labels! Arrangements are by Rene Hall and Maxwell Davis — the latter of whom does a surprisingly great job on giving up a sharper edge than we remember in his other work. About half the set’s straight blues, but the half that’s not is nice and funky.
Now! was actually comprised largely of 1967-1968 singles, filled out by three cuts which made their first appearance on this LP. It’s loosey-goosey late-’60s blues-soul crossover, with a sassy attitude and adroit combinations of stinging blues guitar, strutting vocals, soulful horns, and organ, never heard better than on “I’m a Drifter.
” Actually, the record sounds better than much of his slightly earlier ’60s Kent stuff because it’s not as unduly repetitious, though it’s filled out with cover versions of familiar tunes like “Funky Broadway,” “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” and “Everyday I Have the Blues.” Perhaps it wasn’t cutting edge as far as late-’60s soul went, but it had some of the rawness of ’50s electric blues and some of the slickness of late-’60s soul brass, and B.B. King-like horn charts, and the combination usually clicked. All of the tracks from Now! are on the Ace compilation The Final Kent Years, which also includes his 1978 album Lovemaker, a 1972 single, and three previously unissued cuts from around the time of the Now! sessions NDR-(Not on this post).
From Japan Mini LP-CDs blog

One of the all time classics of funky blues — a record built around Lowell’s huge single “Tramp” — a massive tune that spawned a whole generation of answer tunes! “Tramp” kicks off the set with a stone break that’s worth the price of the album — then Lowell slides into some tunes that have a bit more of a conventional bluesy approach, mixed with a few other nice cuts that get a bit funky too! A rough-edged classic that really stands out — and which has made Fulsom one of the better-collected bluesmen of the beathead crowd. In addition to “Tramp”, other tracks include “Two Way Wishin”, “Back Door Key”, “Year Of 29″, “Pico”, “Goin’ Home”, and “Black Nights”. The reissue includes 2 bonus tracks — “Tramp (take 1)” and “Year Of 29 (alt take)”.
© 1996-2009, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

Lowell Fulson’s comfortably laid-back but groovin’ soul-blues workout “Tramp” quickly became one of his biggest hits (and fared even better in a cover version by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas), and this album (released to tie in with the single’s success) finds Fulson following a similar stylistic path. While most of Tramp’s tunes lean more heavily on traditional blues structures than the title tune, Fulson was obviously aiming for a funky ambience rather than the heavy emotional crush of the deep blues, and his clean, uncluttered guitar solos are warmer and more approachable than the typical Chicago-style axe work of the day. There’s a sly playfulness to this material that’s winning, and even the most down-and-out songs here display a light touch and creative intelligence that sets Fulson apart. Hardly a masterpiece, Tramp is still the sort of album to please fans and new admirers alike.
By Mark Deming (AMG)

Lowell Fulsom Discography here. His Biography here.

By Pier

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