Format: Vinyl LP
American rock gets back to its soulful roots.
1968 was the year when rock music went back to its roots. Many cite Dylan and the Band and their search for a mythical America, but for others it was a return to the jazz, soul and R&B they had grown up with and had first got them into music. “Horn Rock & Funky Guitar Grooves” explores these escapes from psychedelia in a 17-track compilation that stretches geographically from New Jersey to San Francisco, and on down to Memphis and New Orleans as rock once again became danceable.
The term horn rock traditionally refers to the jazz style of big band-arranged rock associated with bands such as Blood, Sweat & Tears (who are featured with ‘Roller Coaster’) and Chicago: music which showed the influence of jazz on the post-war children who became rock stars in the 1960s. It’s clearly there with Al Kooper’s take on Hayes & Porter’s ‘Toe Hold’, San Francisco’s the Sons with their De La Soul-sampled ‘Boomp, Boomp, Chomp’, Chase’s frenetic ‘Run Back To Mama’, Lighthouse’s floor-filler ‘One Fine Morning’ and Donnie Brooks’ previously unreleased ‘Blow Your Mind’.
Others looked to the touring R&B bands for their influence. This was most obvious in Delaney & Bonnie’s Memphis-recorded ‘It’s Been A Long Time Coming’, and the bands that emerged from Bill Graham’s San Francisco label: Cold Blood, Tower Of Power and Hammer. The last of those replaced the horns with guitars and organ, as did the East Coast’s Crystal Mansion. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and alumnus Mike Bloomfield in the Electric Flag embraced horns after starting out as pioneers of electric guitar.
“Horn Rock & Funky Guitar Grooves” embraces an era and a sound that is often overlooked for self-consciously heavier and hipper sounds. These records are today sampled for their good grooves, and championed by DJs of retro sounds for their dancefloor adaptability.