Black Grass – 1973 – Black Grass
Review by Soulmakossa
Rip, posting and additional info’s by Nikos
Here is the Rare Black Grass self Titled LP on a small US Label which to sum it up best is a super slice of Gospel Soul female Funk breaks with some blazing Hip Hop Samples and Chops for the producers. No need to say anymore just check out that sound clip.
A1 Sweeping Through the City 2:45
A2 Come Across Your Bridge 2:55
A3 Early Morning Rain 3:43
A4 I’m So Grateful to You 2:22
A5 Great Day 2:14
B1 Lock Stock and Barrel 3:17
B2 Going Down to the River 2:55
B3 Give, Give, Give 2:16
B4 Burnin’ Love 3:19
B5 Morning Train 2:16
This is a magnificent heavy soul/gospel rock album by vocal group Black Grass, a relatively obscure gospel outfit similar to the Staple Singers and signed to Leon Russell‘s Shelter label.
Russell’s unmistakable boogie woogie piano style is all over this disc; it joyously opens the feelgood, uptempo gospel vamp “Sweeping Through the City” and retains much of its revivalist spirit on other traditional gospel tracks as “Great Day” and “Morning Train“. The vocals here are amazing. It really sounds like the Staple Singers, with the female lead singer belting and wailing uncannily like Mavis Staples while still holding her own. The male lead takes over on a few cuts and rips through ’em with Southern Soul stompin’ zeal.
The mid-tempo “Come Across Your Bridge” is a fair strutter adding distorted organ riffs on the chorus, whereas “Early Morning Rain” catches Black Grass at its most melancholic. The female lead surges through this tender ballad, with Russell adding a shimmering, gentle organ melody. The country funk for which Russel was renowned reappears on the passionate, lazily groovin’ “I’m So Grateful to You“, which also stars Carl Radle’s fat poppin’ bass loops.
“Lock Stock and Barrel” was the group’s most commercial effort; a delightfully arranged ballad (beautiful strings) riding a hesitating groove brilliantly demonstrating Leon Russell’s niche for melodic, haunting country soul hybrids. For more of this brand of contemplative, rustic soul searching, also check out the truly infectious “Give, Give, Give“. Black Grass goes for the funk the hardest on the devastating jam “Going Down to the River“, with Leon plunkin’ away at the clavinet, while blues titan and guitarist extraordinaire Freddie King (at that time also signed to Shelter) gives away a frantic, piercing solo on the rollickin’ rockin’ soul gem “Burnin’ Love“.
Can’t recommend this LP enough. It’s Southern drenched soulful boogie-gospel-blues-rock at its finest.