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Get this crazy baby off my head!

27.11.08

Jimmy Witherspoon and Eric Burdon




Jimmy Witherspoon and Eric Burdon - Guilty - 1971 - MGM Records

The collaboration of Eric Burdon and the late Jimmy Witherspoon proved to be a good combination on this album. There are some good songs here, and even if there are a few "ordinary"songs here, they are never boring, and quite enjoyable, mainly due to the excellent musicianship. A well avove average blues album.The Italian e-zine Viceversa ranked it number 97 on their top 100 albums of all time. The album was recorded shortly after Eric Burdon left WAR, and Lee Oskar and Harold Brown, from War lend out very experienced hands on the album. 5 of these tracks were recorded on location at San Quentin Prison, with Ike White on guitar and the San Quentin Prison Band providing great support. This album was re-released as "Black & White Blues" in LP format in 1976 (LA Records GG 58001) and on CD in 1999 (ARG Records/BMG). Buy Jimmy Witherspoon's great "Blowin' in from Kansas City" album, and check out War's "The World Is A Ghetto" album @ WAR/WIAG which features War members, Lee Oskar, Papa Dee Allen, and Harold Brown, who are also on "Guilty." It is also worth listening to Eric Burdon's 1977 "Survivor" album, and any "Best Of The Animals" compilation.

MUSICIANS

Eric Burdon: Vocals
Jimmy Witherspoon: Vocals
Bob Mercereau, Lee Oskar: Harmonica
Papa Dee Allen: Congas
Harold Brown, George Suranovich: Drums
Charles Miller: Tenor Saxophone
Howard Scott, John Sterling: Guitar
Lonnie Jordan, Terry Ryan: Piano, Organ
B.B. Dickerson, Kim Kesterson: bass

…and on location with the Far Out Remote Unit - San Quentin Prison Band (featuring Ike White on guitar)

TRACKS / COMPOSERS
Side 1
I've Been Drifting/Once upon a Time - J.Witherspoon/E.Burdon
Steamroller - James Taylor
The Laws Must Change - John Mayall
Have Mercy Judge - Chuck Berry
Going Down Slow - James Ogden

Side 2
Soledad - Eric Burdon/J.Sterling
Home Dream - Eric Burdon
Headin' for Home - Eric Burdon/ K. Kesterson /J.Sterling
The Time Has Come - J.Witherspoon/T.Edwards



BIO (JIMMY WITHERSPOON)

One of the great blues singers of the post-World War II period, Jimmy Witherspoon was also versatile enough to fit comfortably into the jazz world. Witherspoon was born on August 8, 1920, in Gurdon, AR. As a child, he sang in a church choir, and made his debut recordings with Jay McShann for Philo and Mercury in 1945 and 1946. His own first recordings, using McShann's band, resulted in a number one R&B hit in 1949 with "Ain't Nobody's Business, Pts. 1 & 2" on Supreme Records. Live performances of "No Rollin' Blues" and "Big Fine Girl" provided 'Spoon with two more hits in 1950. The mid-'50s were a lean time, with his style of shouting blues temporarily out of fashion; singles were tried for Federal, Chess, Atco, Vee Jay, and others, with little success. Jimmy Witherspoon at the Monterey Jazz Festival (HiFi Jazz) from 1959 lifted him back into the limelight. Partnerships with Ben Webster or Groove Holmes were recorded, and he toured Europe in 1961 with Buck Clayton, performing overseas many more times in the decades to follow; some memorable music resulted, but Witherspoon's best 1960s album is Evening Blues (Prestige), which features T-Bone Walker on guitar and Clifford Scott on saxophone. As the '70s began, Witherspoon decided to take a short break from live performances, settled in Los Angeles, took a job as a disc jockey, and continued making records. In 1971 Witherspoon teamed up with former Animals vocalist Eric Burdon for the album Guilty. Unfortunately it sold poorly. By 1973 his short retirement from live performances was over. Witherspoon was ready to get back on the road and assembled an amazing band featuring a young Robben Ford on lead guitar. Those live shows had received positive reviews, rejuvenating Witherspoon's move toward a definite rock/soul sound. He traveled to London in 1974 to record Love Is a Five Letter Word with British blues producer Mike Vernon. Vernon had produced critically acclaimed British blues albums by John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, and Ten Years After. By the early '80s, Witherspoon was diagnosed with throat cancer. Although he remained active and was a popular concert attraction, the effect of the disease on his vocals was obvious. Witherspoon passed away on September 18, 1997, at the age of 74. © Bob Porter, Scott Yanow & Al Campbell, All Music Guide



BIO (ERIC BURDON)

As the lead singer of the Animals, Eric Burdon was one of the British Invasion's most distinctive vocalists, with a searingly powerful blues-rock voice. When the first lineup of the group fell apart in 1966, Burdon kept the Animals' name going with various players for a few years. Usually billed as Eric Burdon and the Animals, the group was essentially Burdon's vehicle, whom he used to purvey a far more psychedelic and less R&B-oriented vision. Occasionally he came up with a good second-division psychedelic hit, like "Sky Pilot"; more often, the music was indulgent, dating almost immediately. Burdon's real triumphs as a solo artist came at the beginning of the '70s, when he hooked up with a bunch of L.A. journeyman soul/funksters who became his backing band, War. Recording three albums worth of material in the year or two that they were together, the Burdon/War records could ramble on interminably, and would have benefited from a lot of editing. But they contained some spacey funkadelia of real quality, especially their number three hit single "Spill the Wine," which was almost recorded as an afterthought in the midst of sessions dominated by exploratory jams. The band was already big stars on record and stage when Burdon, for reasons unclear to almost everyone, quit the band in 1971. War defied expectations and became even bigger when left to their own devices; Burdon, after recording an album with veteran bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon, cut a series of generally desultory solo albums. He recorded off and on after that, at times with the Animals, but has never come close to reaching the heights of his work with the early Animals and War. © Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide