Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Harlem River Drive (1971)


UK Import

Note: the CD I listened to was the 2005 reissue.

I became familiar with this band when I heard this album's catchy closing song, Seeds Of Life, in the excellent box set What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves. Then I read Will Hermes' book, Love Goes To Buildings On Fire, which describes this album as "a Latin soul record steeped in jazz that was visionary but didn't sell." He had me at "visionary."  This had been on my Amazon wish list for years and I finally pulled the trigger on it.  Eric Burdon's band War cribbed its later sound from this group's one record, but this album may be better than anything War released.

An outstanding original musical gallimaufry of funk, soul, Latin dance music, pop, and jazz that ends up transcending all those genres.  Bandleader Eddie Palmieri dubbed it "La Perfecta."  Thom Jurek over at Allmusic.com writes: "Harlem River Drive is a classic because after 30-plus years, it still sounds as if listeners are the ones catching up to it. It's worth every dime you pay for it."  If you can even find a copy, the original vinyl on Roulette Records sells for big bucks, but thanks to the digital revolution, this music is now easy to acquire inexpensively and you should. Now.

(click image to enlarge)

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  Only 5 tracks over 31½ minutes, but don't miss a second of it.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None

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