More than Purdie good…
Bernard Purdie – Purdie Good! – Prestige/Jazz Dispensary/ Craft Recordings #CR 00522 – 180 gm vinyl – ****
(Bernard Purdie – drums; Tippy Larkin – trumpet; Warren Daniels – tenor sax; Charlie Brown – tenor sax; Harold Wheeler – electric piano; Ted Dunbar – guitar; Billy Nichols – guitar; Gordon Edwards – Fender bass; Norman Pride – congas)
When the topic of the greatest funk and R & B drummer comes up, there is always one name who is mentioned most often. That name is Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. He possesses a signature back-beat shuffle, so well known that it is named after him (“Purdie shuffle”). In drummers’ terms, it’s called “triplets against a half-time back-beat.”
Bernard’s stick work is so valued that he definitely is a top tier first call drummer for a range of musicians, covering a wide gamut of genres from jazz to blue-eyed soul. His inclusion in the drummer’s chair can help certify a track having “hit potential.” Just ask Hall and Oates, Aretha Franklin, or James Brown, who they wanted “back in the day.” Demanding taskmasters, Steely Dan, also knew who to call on when they burned through other musicians to obtain their funk credentials.
A special treat for “Pretty” Purdie fans is the re-release by the boutique label, Jazz Dispensary, in their Top Shelf Series, of Bernard’s second solo album (from 1971), Purdie Good. Recorded at the iconic Rudy Van Gelder studio ( a perfect fit, getting the Purdie sound just right), it now has been remastered (all-analog) from the original tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio. Pressed on 180 vinyl, with impeccable acoustics, it would make the perfect gift for the wannabe hipster in your life…
Its six tracks are a mix of two Purdie originals, and tracks from hits of the day, including James Brown’s “Cold Sweat.” and Harry Nillson’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” from Midnight Cowboy fame.
The familiar horn riffs on “Cold Sweat” open up this funk fest. Guitarist, Ted Dunbar, provides tasty blues accompaniment. “Montego Bay” gets the requisite reggae arrangement with chunky bass, percussion, and trumpet lines, along with Purdie’s contagious drumming. His title track has strong contributions from Harold Wheeler’s electric piano, and Charles Brown’s tenor sax.
Side B has Purdie’s arrangement of “Everybody’s Talkin'” with tenor saxist, Warren Daniels stating the melody against a major drum back-beat, while Ted Dunbar, is again featured. The album ends with Bernard’s arrangement of the pop tune, “You Turn Me On.”
I’d say with complete confidence that this funk supreme release is “damn more than Purdie good..”
Bernard Purdie – Purdie Good!
You Turn Me On
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