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, November 23, 2015

Ramsey Lewis - Tequila Mockingbird (1977)

Funk + Muzak = Fuzak.  A word so good I wish I'd coined it*. And it perfectly describes this instrumental disc. A little funkier than smooth jazz with the help of Lewis' old friends from Earth, Wind & Fire. Lewis plays several different keyboards in these arrangements, but for my money I'd rather hear him pound the Fender Rhodes than anything else. This album didn't receive rave reviews (2 or 3 stars) but I like it for what it is. In '77, Ramsey wasn't in with the 'in' crowd anymore, but he could still put out albums that, while not inventive, are quite enjoyable to these ears.

The liner notes in my CD are nonexistent beyond a track listing. Thank goodness for Discogs.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #111
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #3
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #148

Tracks:  The three songs produced by EWF keyboardist Larry Dunn are all funky fun: Tequila Mockingbird (which includes and all-too-brief sax solo from Ronnie Laws), Skippin', and That Ole Bach Magic.  The other five tracks (produced by Bert deCoteaux) are slightly restrained but still in the same fuzak groove.  The only skippable track is Intimacy.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None, although I was involved in a production of a stage version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" while a sophomore in high school.

*I cribbed the term fuzak from this book. Urban Dictionary lists fuzak as a portmanteau of the words fusion and Muzak, but what do they know?

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