Friday, 1 March 2019

Zoot Money's Big Roll Band - Zoot! (1966)


Released in 1966

This is an energetic and effervescent capture of one of the British R'n'B boom's main acts live. Although the recoding has been remastered, it is still pretty much "warts 'n' all", with some hissy bits here and there, but it does have that authentic 'live" feeling, complete with crowd hubbub,  that makes you think you are there, at Kooks Kleek, Hampstead, London in 1966. The essential bass parts of the sound have been cleaned up and it carries a deep, warm bass thump to it. George "Zoot" Money's Hammond organ leads the sound, but the drums, from Colin Allen, are excellent. The Police's Andy Summers is on guitar in one of his early gigs, showing that he was certainly not the young punk many presumed him to be in 1978.


1. Chauffeur
2. Your One And Only Man
3. I've Been Trying
4. Florence Of Arabia
5. Let The Good Times Roll
6. James Brown Medley
7. Mashed Potato USA
8. Nothing Can Change This Love
9. Barefootin'                                                    

The rollicking organ riff-powered "Chaffeur" and the Chris Farlowe-ish horn-driven "Your One And Only" are solid openers to the set.

Curtis Mayfield's "I've Been Trying" is soulful, as you would expect, although the overall sound is a little muffled. "Florence Of Arabia" is very Georgie Fame swinging jazz-style, augmented by Nick Newall's swirling, sixties-fashion flute. It is an instrumental, also featuring some excellent organ work from Money. "Let The Good Times Roll" is carried along by punchy saxophones and its vocals are deep and bluesy.

The "James Brown Medley" introduced by Money (actually I am sure it is another member of the band, possibly bassist/vocalist Paul Williams) in an American accent, for some reason, is muscular and upbeat, as you would expect, including, among other "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "Out Of Sight and "I Feel Good". Money's voice really sounds so much like Georgie Fame's, having that same, deep, smoky tone. "Mashed Potato USA" is typical instrumental mid/late sixties blues/r 'n' b fare, full of swirling organ and strident saxophones. Money changes his introductory voice back to English for Sam Cooke's "Nothing Can Change This Love" which is delivered in a stately, slow-burning blues fashion, building to a big crescendo. "Barefootin'" is a rousing stomper of a closer.

This is a excellent, authentic live album from a band that became a bit of a "cult" band. They never really made it commercially, but in terms of respect and live appeal, they had something. They are still gigging today.


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