James Taylor & the Original Flying Machine – Knocking Around the Zoo

File under interesting Folk/Rock break. Who knew James Taylor could be so funky? I’ve been sitting on a bunch of copies of this record for a minute, compiling drum breaks for an eventual all beat mix, so I figured why not showcase this puppy? Recorded in a few hours in 1966, then released in ’67 to no success, this record was shelved until JT scored commercial success with Sweet Baby James in 1970. Demo quality at best, this record does have some funky drums and bass within the seven songs. Taylor had enlisted musicians like longtime collaborator Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar on guitar, plus Jerry Burnham on Zachary Wiesner on bass, journeyman Jazz/Rock drummer Joel O’Brien on drums, and famous session man Al Gorgoni on harpsichord, piano, organ, synthesizer, and keyboards for this recording in NYC. Basically a demo of the songs Taylor and “Kootch” Kotchmar were playing around NYC before Taylor blew up, it’s nice to see that Mr. Fire and Rain liked to walk on the funky side.

The open drums on “Knocking Around the Zoo” are quite nice, and with a bass line that could be a great sample as well. Basically a funky Blues/Folk/Rock jam, complete with a guitar solo, there were two versions recorded. One with Taylor’s vocals, and the other with Danny Kortchmar’s, which is the version we have here. Sampled by Blackalicious and Diamond D among others, it just goes to show you that sometimes you don’t have to search very far to find a funky break. Enjoy.

Listen to or Download James Taylor & the Original Flying Machine – Knockin’ Around the Zoo from the Euphoria LP 1967

Keep Diggin’!

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