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Mann, Herbie – “Memphis Underground” – [Atlantic]

Cousin Mary   9/28/2010   12-inch, Jazz

Reputed to be one of the best selling “jazz” albums of all time, this 1969 recording is a combination of jazz heavies like flutist Herbie Mann and a celebrated Memphis R&B rhythm section. The result is not exactly soul or psych or jazz, but a marvelous intersection of them all. Guitar, flute, vibe and other solos are delightful but this ensemble is tight when working together.

3 of the 5 tracks are covers, but are totally fresh in sound: “Hold On, I’m Comin'” (Sam & Dave), “Chain of Fools” (Aretha Franklin), “New Orleans” (Gary U.S. Bonds).

Fun fact: Memphis Underground was a favorite album of writer Hunter S. Thompson.

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