Saturday, July 1, 2017
Billy Cobham - 1975  "A Funky Thide Of Sings"
The progressive rock band Caravan would be impressed with the album title. They too specialize in tricky album titles (just check out their 1975 album for proof!) A Funky Thide of Sings is either intended for those who prefer Billy's Crosswinds albums since there's more emphasis on jazz than usual (at least in the song "Moody Modes" which is the longest song here at 12 minutes) and of course, there's a LOT of funk (though not as much as the enthusiastic reviewers below led me to think).
And "Moody Modes" lives up to its name! At least initially. It's quite moody with the repetitive piano line and the dreamy synths. Soon the jazziness gets overwhelmingly loud and the song loses focus for a couple minutes. When the pace dramatically slows down a couple minutes in and a gentle piano solo occurs, I really enjoy this part. Reminds me of a peaceful rainfall in a forest. Soon it turns into a full-fledged piano jam reminding one of classical music. The really big Emerson, Lake & Palmer fan in me loves this part! Then a trumpet solo arrives that feels a bit out of place, but still okay since the notes are good... for the most part. It does wander a bit. Then a bass guitar solo comes in afterwards and tries rocking out on a few occasions which is when I *really* take notice of it. The dreamy jazzy theme returns to end the tune. Overall, a pretty solid song but the trumpet solo is a bit overlong.
"A Funky Kind of Thing" is all about the funk! Space rock drumming to be precise. Wow does this make me feel unstoppable! Like soaring to the moon on a big rocket and never looking back. Some may think this song never truly gets going since it's all about stopping/starting drum workouts, but I have to disagree. I think a lot of these drum patterns are quite good when approaching them under the right mindset. In fact it didn't take long at all to get into them! "Some Skunk Funk" opens on a boisterous note. Of course you can imagine how much funk there probably is... an abundance of it! This is a tightly constructed fast-moving song that focuses on horns playing swiftly to the rhythm, and a magnificent saxophone solo after. This song is written in similar fashion to the Mahavishnu Orchestra with all the sophisticated and tight time changes occurring.
"Thinking of You" is a guilty confession- I LOVE softly played synth instrumental music! There I said it. Despite how dated this sounds and stuck in the mid 70's, you know I just don't care because the mood is spectacular and relaxed. The melody is wonderful too. Oddly I can think of some video game music this might resemble. I'm thinking the Mega Man series, lol! The horns really give it flavor. Perhaps the saxophone solo is slightly out of place, but it too has enough melody that I don't mind. Ah, and then it gets mellow again like it was in the beginning before a jazzy guitar solo occurs (would've been nice if this part lasted a minute longer, huh). Just a great song!
"Panhandler" begins with an eerie type of ambience that reminds me of hiding under a rock until this unexplainable ominous danger above clears. But then... it clears out in a big way! In comes a jazzy rhythm with a funky horn riff. This song keeps a tight melody flowing and even when this extraordinary jazzy guitar solo comes in, the song remains high-octane and awesome. "A Funky Thide of Sings" (I guess is considered the title song- wow I never thought I'd experience confusion in figuring out what the title of an album is but this is one of those cases, haha) starts off a lot like "A Funky Kind of Thing" until turning into a rhythmic horn-drenched steady paced instrumental. Great sax solo near the end.
"Light at the End of the Tunnel" has a catchy intro riff that reminds me of a military march before shifting into a jazzier rhythm. Not sure what makes this song so irresistible, but it could be the heavy thumping bass in the background. Or the amazing Tommy Bolin-like guitar solo that comes in. "Sorcery" is based around a really cool swirling bass riff with other jazzy instruments coming in to enhance the atmosphere. Awesome keyboard solo that reminds me of the same one near the end of... Caravan's "The Love In Your Eyes" suite! Hard to believe I'd be bringing up Caravan's name twice in this review. Seriously Billy Cobham and Caravan are completely different artists 99% of the time!
Overall, the perfect album for Billy Cobham lovers!
Cobhams's long been revered as one of the best drummers on the planet , a distinction shared by only but a few of the top tiered pounders who ever picked up the sticks. A devout fusioneer who cut his teeth playing with the likes of legendary
axmen John McLaughlin , John Abercrombie & John Scofield - anybody who appreciates guitar jam will know of whom i write. Cobham's also surrounded himself over the years with nothing but the best sidemen and studio players such as the late great Michael Brecker and the always inventive bass player and ex Passport member Wolfgang Schmid. Cobham's thunderous drumrolls and triple kick bass drums are his signature sound and to hear them is to realize you'll always recognize , and appreciate what a great drummer sounds like.
Originally released in 1975. While elements of funk were always a part of his band's sound, it was now the primary focus. "Panhandler" stands out as the session's most memorable composition, while Milcho Leviev contributes nicely on "Moody Modes." Cobham fans will want to seek this out for the extended drum solo "A Funky Kind of Thing," which stands as one of the most original drum solos he ever recorded. Of particular interest here is the presence of John Scofield, who had replaced John Abercrombie. Not up to the standards of its predecessors, but a worthy purchase.
1. Panhandler (3:50)
2. Sorcery (2:26)
3. A Funky Thide Of Sings (3:40)
4. Thinking Of You (4:12)
5. Some Skunk Funk (5:07)
6. Light At The End Of The Tunnel (3:37)
7. A Funky Kind Of Thing (9:24)
8. Moody Modes (12:16)
Total time 44:32
Line-up / Musicians:
- Billy Cobham / percussion, synthesizer, arranger & co-producer
- John Scofield / guitar
- Milcho Leviev / keyboards, arrangements (2,8)
- Michael Brecker / saxophone (excl. 3)
- Randy Brecker / trumpet (excl. 3), arrangements (5)
- Glenn Ferris / trombone (excl. 3)
- Larry Schneider / saxophone (1,3)
- Walt Fowler / trumpet (1,3)
- Tom Malone / trombone & piccolo (1,3)
- Alex Blake / bass, arrangements (4)
- Rebop Kwaku Baah / congas (1,3)
Posted by Crimhead420 at 11:25 PM