Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Crusaders - Images (1978)

Released: 1978 (Blue Thumb)
Produced by: "Stix" Hooper, Wilton Felder, & Joe Sample
Peak on the US Billboard 200: 34

Side One Side Two
Fairy Tales
Marcella's Dream
Bayou Bottoms
Cosmic Reign
Covert Action

Yesterday, I picked up a box of 8-track tapes at a local store.  It was a fairly large box that held about 30 tapes, marked $5.  I offered $3 and they jumped at my offer so quickly I think I could have gotten the lot for $1.  In any case, the first tape to catch my eye (probably because of the blue cartridge) was this 1978 album by The Crusaders.
Because my listening habits were completely shaped by Top 40 radio in 1978, I am completely unfamiliar with this instrumental album, so this post is comprised entirely of my first impressions. I'm following the original album sequencing, not the 8-track re-sequence.

  • Fairy Tales: This upbeat, funky disco tune gets things off to a good start.  While I don't care much for the lead guitar timbre and the melody never really goes anywhere, Joe Sample's electric piano solo is quite good and I like the overall groove.
  • Marcella's Dream: A bluesy ballad with more solid work by Sample.  More of a jam than a organized chart, this one noodles a bit much for my tastes.
  • Bayou Bottoms: A great funk track.  I like the way the sax line is doubled by heavily processed guitar.  Writer/saxophonist Wilton Felder stands out on this chart.  It's over all too soon.
  • Merry-Go-Round:  This Sample-penned track sounds like a Grover Washington, Jr. tune to me.  And, as someone who likes smooth jazz, that's a good thing.  As you would expect on a tune he wrote, Sample steals the show on piano.

  • Cosmic Reign: The longest piece on the album.  Staying true to the title, we first get the spacey intro, followed by a funk groove with lots of bass slappin' but not much of a melody (or many chord changes, for that matter), then, strangely, there's about 4 measures consisting of straight ahead bop.  For the most part, it sticks with the generic funk groove, which doesn't do much for me.
  • Covert Action: Heavy fusion.  The overall sound reminds me of Weather Report.
  • Snowflake: Probably mis-titled (there's nothing snowflakish about this one), this is another solid Sample tune with a light Latin feel.  Nice solos throughout.

  1. Bayou Bottoms
  2. Merry-Go-Round
  3. Snowflake
  4. Fairy Tales
  5. Cosmic Reign
  6. Covert Action
  7. Marcella's Dream

More 8 track fun:

No comments :

Post a Comment