Little Beaver – 1974 – Black Rhapsody
My favorite tune on the album is HIT ME WITH FUNKY MUSIC… which is almost a mix of a Meters thing w/ a bit of East Bay thrown in… and then some Motown soul… and its Jazz.
Like George Benson, Little Beaver is a guy who can play both SOUL and JAZZ. The album is great, crisp and funky.
Of course, if you like it, WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME and PARTY DOWN should have been on your list by now.
A1 A Tribute to Wes 4:08
A2 Blues for Mama 3:34
A3 Hit Me With Funky Music 3:54
A4 Loosen Up 3:25
A5 Summertime 3:11
B1 Just My Imagination 6:25
B2 Never Can Say Goodbye 5:40
B3 Let’s Stay Together 3:05
Review by Henry Stone
Anyone who has followed the course of modern music, even on a casual basis, is aware of the vast influence that the guitar has played. From the beginning, it has set the pace for new musical trends.
In this “age of the guitar” we have discovered yet another impressario of this art form; one who has traveled the same roads that gave us the likes of B.B. King and Wes Montgomery. His names is Willie (Little Beaver) Hale.
Born in Arkansas, Beaver made his way to Miami, Florida. He was brought to us one day by Willie Clark to maybe do some session work and ended up doing all of the guitar parts to Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman”, Willie Clarke then produced Beaver on his first hit single, “Joey”.
Al Kooper (of Blood, Sweat, & Tears fame) was so excited about Little Beaver after using him on some sessions, he asked if we would send him some of Beaver’s first album (Cat 1601) so Kooper could turn his friends on to Little Beaver.
Beaver has long been a highly regarded songwriter, as numerous successes on the charts have already indicated, but in this album we are trying to bring you another side of the multi-talented individual, Little Beaver.
As you’ll hear in this instrumental album, Beaver’s unique style and approach to both writing and playing reflect deep feelings and emotions with a rare simplicity that will make you a Little Beaver fan forever.
Putting his own blues guitar chops at the front, Black Rhapsody featured a slew of original deep funk jams from Hale, as well as his own soulful spins on songs by Al Green, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and even George Gershwin. A rare gem of 70s funk, famously featuring the track “A Tribute To Wes“, which beatsmith J Dilla would sample to great effect on the Slum Village track “Conant Gardens“.
Originally produced and engineerd by Richard Finch. Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo were the original executive producers at Henry Stone’s Hialeah studios.