Don Blackman – 1982 – Don Blackman
A jazz funk masterpiece
and THE record by the legendary Don Blackman – the only one issued under his own name for many many years, and a famous little set that’s been sampled endlessly over the years, and for good reason! The vibe here is one that’s barely been matched again – a blend of 70s fusion, bassy funk, and even tighter riffing – all put together with a greater depth and sense of soul than most other records of its type. Blackman’s a GRP contemporary of Bernard Wright, Tom Browne, and Weldon Irvine – and there’s bits of all their sound in the work here, but somehow Don does it even better – hitting these grooves, notes, and lines that seem to fall from the heavens – and which still stand as some of the hippest music of his generation. A record to file proudly next to your copies of Ramp and James Mason – and like those gems, the kind of record that only happens once in an artists career!
This is a @320 vinyl rip of the original Arista records LP including covers.
A1 Yabba Dabba Doo 5:16
A2 Heart’s Desire 4:30
A3 Holding You, Loving You 4:10
A4 Deaf Hook-Up Connection 4:03
B1 You Ain’t Hip 3:01
B2 Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide 3:38
B3 Since You Been Away So Long 5:11
B4 Never Miss A Thing 3:50
Don Blackman could never be accused of clogging the bins with his own records. Prior to this 1982 debut for GRP — the songwriter/keyboardist/vocalist’s lone LP until 2002 — he was quite visible, though only as a desired touring and session hand, with connections to Parliament/Funkadelic,Lenny White/Twennynine, and Weldon Irvine. At this point in his career, he was riding high on the successes of Twennynine‘s “Peanut Butter” and Bernard Wright‘s “Haboglabotribin’,” two monstrously funky cuts he penned and was spotlighted on. He seemed to approach the first opportunity to flex on his own as if he was on a mission — his self-titled album is as phenomenal as anything else his contemporaries were producing at the time (George Duke in particular), elegantly merging styles and adding new dimensions with each passing track. Beginning with a call-and-response P-Funk-style roof shaker, Blackman and friends then roll into a pair of tender midtempo grooves, where the leader’s sweet and easy voice shines as brightly as his tickling touches of piano and keyboard. (Do check Lenny White/Twennynine‘s “Best of Friends” for a precursor to these highlights.) The first side is closed out with one of the album’s heaviest moments; neither kicking horns nor grinding guitar riffs are out of place. Side two is almost the equal of the first, bounding just as freely between gritty and smooth numbers. Blackman would continue to be valuable to others throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, but this is his greatest achievement, a happy-spirited, genre-blending affair that can enrich the lives of those who hear it. Can you hear it, though? That’s the question. The album has remained scarce, though intermittent bootlegs and reissues (including Expansion’s legit 2006 issue) have popped up throughout the years. Nevertheless, many of its components have been sampled by producers of rap and downtempo house alike. So you’ve probably heard some of it, but not nearly enough, and you most certainly need the full effect.