Saturday, December 1, 2018

Music Reviews: I Don't Want Nobody: Eddie Harris

I can't remember when I first heard this song. It might have been from my father's collection. But it is also likely that I heard it when I was visiting or hanging out with one of my various uncles. My father might have found some of Harris' work too avant-garde. I know he had some of his music though. One uncle is adamant that it was from his collection and that the other uncle in question never ever ever had the piece. It doesn't matter. 

I not so recently picked up a cd with Eddie Harris and David Newman on it: separate albums. The Eddie Harris portion was his album release titled I Need Some Money. I must have had this cd for a year or so and just got around to listening to it completely, which is when I remembered the song "I Don't Want Nobody". It's funny how music can jog memories and take you back to better places in your life. 

As mentioned before, Eddie Harris was one of those magical musicians who was equally at home in virtually all facets of music, particularly the various strains of African American music. This release and this song straddled the lines among gospel, blues, jazz, soul, rock, classical and more while being all of them simultaneously. In this song Eddie Harris weds the old to the new. He opens up by utilizing electronics to sing falsetto through his saxophone while laying down a gospel groove on organ. 

The guitarist has a tone more usually found on Hendrix or Led Zeppelin releases. The drums are simpler than one would usually expect on a "jazz" recording but the full deep resonant bass is straight from gospel and soul music. I love how the bassist takes his time. Nothing is rushed here. The singer lists his complaints against his woman before reluctantly concluding that he simply can't be with someone who doesn't respect him and gives him trouble. Classic blues motif. It can apply to either gender of course. This song could just as easily be sung by a woman regarding a man. Some people just aren't good for you.

The song ends on call and response gospelized vocals that remind you that Eddie Harris' first musical experience was in the church. I believe that Eddie Harris's wife Sara co-wrote this song. It's a long piece but I think it's worth it. There's a lot of space. I love this kind of music. I think it heals your soul.

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