Get this crazy baby off my head!


Phil Upchurch

Phil Upchurch - Tell The Truth! -2001 - Evidence

Phil Upchurch is the kind of guitarist who makes a strong point by what he chooses not to play. There are speedier chopsmeisters, players who undertake more daring intervallic leaps, those who navigate trickier lines, but it would be hard to imagine a more soulful guitarist than Upchurch. From his laidback phrasing on Nat Adderley's bluesy boogaloo "Jive Samba" to his buttery-smooth vocal inflections on Steely Dan's "Jack of Speed" and on the bluesy title track, Upchurch's understated approach on Tell the Truth! is more about pure feeling than technique. And yet he's holding in that department too, as he so capably demonstrates on Roland Vasquez's "Long Gone Bird" and on his own stunning arrangement of Paul Desmonds' "Take Five," done up in a similar fashion to his arrangement for that tune on George Benson's crossover smash hit from 1976, Breezin'. Natalie Cole's "La Costa" is a lovely change of pace, allowing Upchurch to flaunt his affinity for flamenco music (and the late Lenny Breau) on nylon string acoustic guitar. On Eric Johnson's "Manhattan," he shows a command of Wes Montgomery-style thumbed octaves. He creates an infectious groove with wah-wah rhythm guitar bubbling underneath his soulful reading of the gospel-flavored '70s R&B anthem "(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again," while his earthy soloing on a gorgeous reading of "Girl Talk," the Neal Hefti/Bobby Troup vehicle for Count Basie, is a blue-tinged thing of beauty. But for straightforward, real-deal blues, nothing here surpasses Upchurch's loping, down-home "She's Alright." His unaccompanied rendition of "St. Louis Blues" is another guitaristic highlight, showcasing what Upchurch calls his stride guitar technique: incorporating bass, chords and melody lines simultaneously, a la Joe Pass. The prolific studio guitarist covers a lot of basses and blows his own horn in fine style on his Evidence debut. - Originally published in January/February 2002 - By & © Bill Milkowski © 1999–2013 JazzTimes, Inc. All rights reserved. http://jazztimes.com/articles/12836-tell-the-truth-phil-upchurch

The world-renowned guitarist Phil Upchurch plays 13 great songs on Tell the Truth. This CD is a gem. Playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Upchurch shows his remarkable versatility on such great songs as "Jive Samba," "La Costa," the title track, and "St. Louis Blues." He performs a flamenco version of "La Costa" with beauty and style, and flaunts his "stride guitar" technique on a solo rendition of "St. Louis Blues." His inimitably smooth and soulful phrasing shines on "Manhattan," and he doubles on harmonica on his original composition "She's Alright." However, the highlights of this great program are "Tell the Truth," a song Upchurch wrote with Ray Charles in mind, and his great arrangement of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," which he plays much in the same way as he did on George Benson's smash hit "Breezin'." Joined by David Arnay on piano, Kevin Axt on bass, Vince Wilburn, Jr. on drums, and Mike Smith on percussion, this great CD comes 40 years after Upchurch's first recording as a leader, and it's priceless. © Paula Edelstein © 2013 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/tell-the-truth!-mw0000588735

Brilliantly played jazz and soul blues with a Latin feel. There is beautifully understated and subtle guitar work throughout by a great guitarist. Listen to a master craftsman playing Eric Johnson’s “Manhattan” and Paul Desmond’s classic “Take Five”. For Steely Dan fans, Phil gives Becker & Fagen’s “Jack Of Speed” a marvellous interpretation. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to Phil’s wonderful “Darkness, Darkness” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 176 Mb]


1 Jive Samba - Nat Adderley / Nat Adderley, Jr. 5:30
2 Jack of Speed - Walter Becker / Donald Fagen 6:23
3 La Costa - Natalie Cole / Linda Williams 7:51
4 Manhattan - Eric Johnson 6:14
5 Take Five - Paul Desmond 7:57
6 Home Again - David Arnay 5:10
7 Long Gone Bird - Vasquez, Roland 6:35
8 Tell the Truth - Phil Upchurch 5:27
9 (Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again - Zane Grey / Len Ron Hanks 5:23
10 St. Louis Blues - W.C. Handy 7:57
11 Girl Talk - Neal Hefti / Bobby Troup 6:01
12 She's Alright - Phil Upchurch 6:27
13 Misty - Johnny Burke / Erroll Garner 2:17


Phil Upchurch - Guitar, Harmonica
Kevin Axt - Bass
David Arnay - Piano
Vince Wilburn, Jr. - Drums
Mike Smith - Percussion


A prolific guitarist who is comfortable playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Phil Upchurch has been a prominent figure in Chicago music circles since the mid-'50s. He initially did freelance sessions with such musicians as Jerry Butler before becoming house guitarist for Chess. Upchurch's sensitive, often funky chording, riffs, and licks were heard on numerous releases by such artists as the Dells, Howlin' Wolf, Gene Chandler, and Muddy Waters. He frequently teamed with drummer Maurice White, who later headed Earth, Wind & Fire. He formed the Phil Upchurch Combo in the early '60s, and had a hit with the instrumental "You Can't Sit Down" in 1961. They did some follow-up singles, but none equaled the initial record's success. Upchurch did several soul-jazz and funk dates for such labels as Sue and Cadet in the mid- and late '60s. He signed with Blue Thumb in the '70s and split his time between sessions with the Crusaders and Ben Sidran and making his own albums. Tommy LiPuma produced Darkness, Darkness and Lovin' Feelin in 1972 and 1973. Upchurch did one LP for Creed Taylor's Kudu label in 1975, Upchurch Tennyson, with pianist/vocalist Tennyson Stephens. He returned to studio work, but recorded as a leader for Palladin in 1985, Ichiban in 1991, and Ridgetop in 1995 and 1997. He remains active as a session musician and bandleader, returning in 1999 with Rhapsody & Blues. Tell the Truth appeared in spring 2001. © Ron Wynn © 2013 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/phil-upchurch-mn0000286479

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