Thursday, 5 November 2009

“Pass The Plate” by THE CRUSADERS (2008 Universal 'Originals' CD Reissue - Kevin Reeves Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Felt Good…Nice And Good All The Way…" 

Ten years after their formation in 1961 - THE CRUSADERS finally dropped the word "Jazz" from their name and continued with a funkier direction for their debut LP on Chisa Records in 1970  - “Old Socks, New Shoes...New Socks, Old Shoes" (Chisa CS 804). Both “Old Socks…” and this - their rare 2nd album “Pass The Plate” on Chisa Records CS 807 - are available as part of Universal’s ‘Originals” CD Reissue Series.

UK released October 2008 - "Pass The Plate" by THE CRUSADERS on Universal/Verve/Chisa B0011961-02 (Barcode 602517833333) is a straightforward 7-track transfer of their rare 2nd album and is part of their Universal’s ‘Originals’ CD Reissue Series - Soul, Funk, Fusion and Jazz albums in card digipaks at mid price (42:16 minutes). Here are the platefuls…

1. Pass The Plate
(a) Tap N' Shuffle (b) Sing For Your Keep (c) Beggin' (d) Haggin' Stomp! (e) Pennies, Nickels & Dimes
2. Young Rabbits ’71-’72
3. Listen And You’ll See
4 Greasy Spoon
5. Treat Me Like Ya Treat Yaself
6. Goin’ Down South
7. Love Can’t Grow Where The Rain Won’t Fall
Tracks 1 and 2 written by Wayne Henderson, Track 4 by Nesbert Hooper and Tracks 3, 5, 6 and 7 by Joe Sample

The line up was still a four-piece (with Arthur Adams supplementing on guitar):
JOE SAMPLE - Keyboards
WILTON FELDER - Saxophones
NESBERT "STIX" HOOPER - Drums & Percussion

"Pass The Plate" was originally released May 1971 in the USA on Chisa Records CS-807 as a single album in a fetching gatefold sleeve (NO UK equivalent). Originally produced by STEWART LEVINE to great effect - this 2008 CD reissue is a straightforward copy of that album. Experienced and long-standing Engineer KEVIN REEVES has carried out the Remaster at Universal Mastering Studios and the sound quality is fabulous - funky, clear and muscular - just what's needed. The tri-gatefold card digipak reproduces the original fold-out artwork and informative liner notes by LES CARTER of KPPC FM Radio Station (there is no booklet.

Side 1 opens with the near 16-minute title track "Pass The Plate" by Wayne Henderson which is broken into 5 parts (a) Tap N' Shuffle (b) Sing For Your Keep (c) Beggin' (d) Haggin' Stomp! (e) Pennies, Nickels & Dimes. "Pass The Plate" was actually edited down to 2:42 minutes and issued in May 1971 as a 7" single on Chisa C 8013 with the slinky "Greasy Spoon" from Side 2 of the LP as its brilliant B-side (title of this review is spoken by the drummer at the end of the song). This lone 45 was issued and distributed solely by Motown, hence both sides of it (along with an unreleased version) have turned up on Disc 4 of the "The Motown Singles Collection Volume 11A: 1971" from February of 2009.

Side 2 contains two of my favourites - a lethal double whammy opening of Joe Sample's sweet and soulful "Listen And You'll See" followed by the already mentioned funky chestnut "Greasy Spoon". Sample's "Goin' Down South" is a wicked groover too. The only track that I find hard to take is the uncomfortably fast "Young Rabbits-'71-'72" which ends Side 1 - a little too fusion for my old foggy ears.

"Pass The Plate" is typical of so many of The Crusaders Seventies LPs - funky Jazz-Soul with a wee bit of fusion thrown in - and to this day it's still cool, wonderfully slick and just so listenable. This cracking but long-forgotten Jazz-Funk Meisterwork is now less than mid-price on CD and it's one I urge you to check out.

The Crusaders - I never tire of them...

PS: See also my review for another superlative Crusaders set - the 2CD Anthology “Gold” with amazing Gavin Lurssen Remasters…and "Old Socks, New Shoes", "Images" and "Free As The Wind" - and Joe Sample's "Rainbow Seeker" solo LP...

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