Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones – 1975 – Sweetback
A monster set of work by one of the funkiest guitar players ever! Ivan Boogaloo Joe Jones recorded a number of sides for Prestige Records during the early 70s – but this rare gem came out after all those, in 1975, on the tiny Joka label, and never really got into proper circulation at the time – making it one of THE indie jazz funk classics of the 70s! The album’s actually one of Boogaloo’s best – and has a rougher edge than his Prestige albums – heard to great effect on the two standout funky cuts, “Sweetback” and “Confusion” – both of which are stunners that feature Jones really ripping away on the guitar!
A1 Confusion 6:33
A2 Trouble in Mind 6:11
A3 Sweetback 7:40
B1 Have You Ever Been Mellow 7:20
B2 Jamaica Farwell 3:26
B3 You’ve Got It Bad Girl 7:45
By Eddie Landsberg
Though the great Boogaloo Joe Jone’s funkyness is never to be denied, not all of his albums were consistent (his solos, however were… potently so!) This one, however, was… and perhaps can be said to represent his peak for he dropped off the scene (he’s still alive today… spoke to him a few years back… He actually speaks as fast as he plays the guitar and… sadly, said he doesn’t really play anymore… outside the church.)
But let’s travel back to 1975…
This album, finds Joe Jones in full form… with a (so far unidentified) ultra funked out rhythm section and selection of tunes that really let him spark out on that mean guitar of his… He’s totally upfront… Though clearly its a funky soul Jazz album he’s taking solos that would make even the most astute Martino/George Benson (pre-crossover fame) fan FLINCH with delight… Let’s just say, he’s totally off the wall on this one… with million mile an hour licks delivered with ridiculously breathtaking soul, potency and precision that sometimes make the guitar sound like its going to explode any second…
The strangest cut on the album is a Charles Earland type soul Jazz swinger version of… OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN’s Have You Ever Been Mellow… Funkiest tune in my book is Sweetback a real booty shaker which at first sounds like a Reggae meets Soul Jazz tinged George Benson thing… – – like many of the tunes BOOGALOO JOE’s solos are often extended and build to a ridiculous frenzy. (You’ve Got It Bad Girl and Confusion are also real high on my list!)
I can guess the rhythm section, but will spare myself the embarrassment…
Originally released on the ultra-obscure JODA label… I have to admit hearing this album for the first time recently, but can tell you… I know I’ll be listening to it for years down the line and have been listening to it almost non-stop since I got it… wowzers… You don’t get much better than this!