Sunday, February 28, 2016

Tony Williams - 1976 [2000] "Million Dollar Legs"

Million Dollar Legs is the second album by The New Tony Williams Lifetime, released in 1976 on Columbia Records. The album features the jazz fusion drummer Tony Williams with Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua and Tony Newton.

This Sony Japan import release is definitely remastered, and is the best audio version available. It is much better than The Collection U.S. CD.

This album takes a lot of heat, as it was a major disappointment for most after "Believe It". In reality, however, the majority of the album is certainly a worthy follow-up. I most heartedly agree with the the observations that "You Did It To Me" is completely annoying, and ditto with the dubbed horns in "Million Dollar Legs". The remaining five tracks, however, stand up well to time. 

The price of the Japan disc is higher, but is well worth the price, especially if you're a Holdsworth fan. No AH collection is complete without these tracks.

Released in 1976 and clearly not as focused as its precursor 'Believe It'(1975), this is still 90 percent instrumental fusion - just one song is sung and it's the shortest at under four minutes. The players besides Tony are: Allan Holdsworth on guitar; Tony Newton on bass/vocals and; Alan Pasqua on keyboards.
While the music here is obviously affected by some trends of its time, this alone isn't necessarily a bad thing. The entire fusion movement had moved on that direction anyway - Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, you name it - so, as a result, we get some funky fusion jams with some melodic parts.
I'd like to point out that there's quite a lot to enjoy on this album and that it's nowhere as commercial as one may think. The music is well arranged and the interaction among the players is strong so if you care for this transitional period which eventually took us to the mess that was the eighties, you shouldn't let this slip. 

I got into Tony because I'm a drummer. His playing is fabulous on this record. Are the lyrics unimpressive? Yes. It's not often that you get to hear Tony playing in a funk/16th note framework. Here it is. Is it a less important work than "Believe It?" Believe it. But if you're a drummer and you want to learn from Tony, this record features a playing style you will not hear anywhere else and that makes it a valuable addition to your library. They aren't making Tony Williams recordings anymore. There is no reason to snub this one! Alan Holdworth's playing on this record is exceptional as well. 

Track listing

    "Sweet Revenge" (Tony Williams) — 6:03
    "You Did It to Me Baby" (Williams, A. Cleveland) — 3:45
    "Million Dollar Legs" (Williams) — 6:38
    "Joy Filled Summer" (Tony Newton) — 5:50
    "Lady Jane" (Alan Pasqua) — 3:56
    "What You Do to Me" (Williams) — 6:38
    "Inspirations of Love" (Newton) — 9:48


    Allan Holdsworth – guitar
    Alan Pasqua – keyboards
    Tony Newton – bass, vocals
    Tony Williams – drums

        String and horn arrangements by Jack Nitzsche
        Recorded June, 1976, Caribou Ranch Studios, Nederland, Colorado 



  2. Thank you for encouraging me to re-listen to this album. I had written it off years ago as worthless. I found that there ARE worthy tracks on this one!

  3. you are amazing thank you