Ike & Tina Turner – Feel Good – United Artists (1972)/Pure Pleasure Records (2012) PPAN UAS5598 180-gram audiophile stereo vinyl, 30:16 ****1/2:
(Tina Turner – vocals; Ike Turner – band leader; featuring the Rhythm Kings and The Ikettes)
The Ike & Tina Turner Revue (formerly The Kings Of Rhythm) became one of the most successful r & b acts in the sixties. The dynamics changed with the addition of Ann Bullock. Changing her name to Tina Turner, The Ike & Tina Turner Revue became a crossover act. They began to chart with hits like “A Fool In Love”, “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine” and “I Idolize You”. Then in 1966 “River Deep, Mountain High” (which surprisingly never garnered commercial success) introduced the band to a wider audience. But it was the frenetic live performances that created a sensation. More importantly, their covers of rock standards established a commercial viability, including opening for The Rolling Stones. Then in 1970, a mesmerizing version of “Proud Mary” earned a Grammy and made them stars. The Ike & Tina Turner Revue were together for a number of years. and what a live show they put on! Tina Turner (and this story is documented in many ways) later began a very successful solo career. Their influence on rock music was cemented with induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991.
Pure Pleasure Records has re-mastered the 1972 album Feel Good, and it is revelatory. Barely thirty minutes, the ten concisely arranged songs is a living testament to one of the greatest soul rocking ensembles to ever record. Side 1 opens with “Chopper” (one of nine original Tina Turner compositions), as a jerky, funky guitar line backs the nasty, sexually overt vocals of Ms. Turner. The musical vibe has evolved to a seventies urban sound. The arrangements are funk-driven, and the instrumentation fits the tunes. “Kay Got Laid (Joe Got Paid)” explores the gritty narrative aided by a thundering bass, electric guitar runs and the backup singing by The Ikettes. No one understands the translation of R & B to rock better than Ike Turner. With a front singer as powerful as Tina Turner, they just turn her loose on gospel-infused jams like “Feel Good”. A barrelhouse piano adds to the momentum of non-stop hot licks.
Tina stretches her wings as a gritty songwriter on the soulful “I Like It” (with Memphis Stax-like horn flourishes and organ) and her homage to sixties dance music (“If You Can Hully Gully/I Can Hully Gully Too”). Regardless of the arrangements, she is capable of rocketing into overdrive at any time. Demonstrating a socio-political context, “Black Coffee” is a low-down, visceral indictment of the system. Exploring the narratives of fellow composers like Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and James Brown, Turner frames her independence as she states, …my skin is brown…my mind is black…”. The group’s cover of The Beatles, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” picks up on the inherent rhythms, but pumps up the soul. When they revert to rock and soul (“You Better Think Of Something”, “Bolic”), the results are more compelling.
Pure Pleasure has captured the vibrant raw energy of Ike & Tina Turner. The overall sound is edgy and has a live “feel”. There is no attempt to smooth out Turner’s vocals. The dense, brawny mix fits the instrumentation. This is the kind of music that comes alive on vinyl!
Side 1: Chopper; Kay Got Laid (Joe Got Paid); Feel Good; I Like It; If You Can Hully Gully (I Can Hully Gully Too)
Side 2: Black Coffee; She Came In Through The Bathroom Window; If I Knew then (What I Know Now); You Better Think Of Something; Bolic
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