April 27, 2011 by fleamarketfunk
Now you know I like my Hammond B3 over here at FMF, but how about if the Hammond master lays off for a while and gets on some keyboards and redoes his classic song some seven years later? Let’s get into some Jack McDuff with Electric Surfboard off of the Chess Records Lp Sophisticated Funk from 1976. I’ve written a bunch on Jack McDuff here at FMF, in fact, my very first review on this blog was a 45 of “Oblighetto”. Ok my blog layout was not too strong back then, but we’ve come a long way here in 4 plus years. The music was still there though, and so Brother Jack took us from that to one of my faves “Hot BBQ” , and now finally to this one. You see, the times were changing. It was the edge of Disco, some Funk/ Jazz Fusion was going around, and well, BJM had to get with the times. Why not resurrect an old hit of his with some young players? Produced and arranged by Billy Jones of Brother to Brother fame (if you don’t have a copy of their cover of “The Bottle” on Turbo I suggest you find it), the entire record gets labeled by a lot of record people as a tepid turd. I mean, aside from the cover, which I’ll post below, you might get the impression this is some hot, drippy, Jazz Funk (see Jimmy McGriff’s Soul Sugar cover). Sadly it’s not. However, this updated version of Electric Surfboard is still funky to me. Recorded at All Platinum Studios in Englewood, NJ (where McDuff would go on to record with Sugar Hill Records) Jones paired (and played guitar on this track) McDuff with young session players like Craig Derry (percussion), Arnold Ramsey (drums), Frank Prescott (bass) plus CTI veteran Joe Farrell (saxophone/ flute) to put a mid 70′s touch on this Jazz Funk classic. Jones even a “Special Thanks to Jack McDuff for being so patient with a young set of musicians”. I guess Brother Jack was a bit testy during the recording process. A version of this song was sampled by Pete Rock for “One In a Million”, however it’s the version on the Gin and Orange Lp, check out the horns to verify. Either way, all versions of the song are funky in their own right, and the classic record cover of Sophisticated Funk deserves some shine too. Keep Diggin’!
Cover of Sophisticated Funk, I mean why the hell not?
Pete Rock’s version of Electric Surfboard on “One in a Million”