Here’s a tune that I dug out of the vaults today. This track is an Eddie Harris side that comes off his Plug Me In LP on Atlantic in 1968. Of course this is the record the Beasties reference on Check Your Head (as well as the Maestro amp), as Harris was a champion of the electronically amplified tenor saxophone. I’m sure millions of beat heads (including myself) then became more aware of his records after that shout out. The record on a whole, a follow up to his debut with the electric sax is a bastion of styles. Harris can easily go from Blues to Boogaloo to Jazz inflused Rock to tunes that are encouraged to do this: “Play this one over soft candlelight or, in winter, before a log filled fireplace.” I don’t know about you, but that description would completely make me go out and buy the record. I get the feeling that the record company didn’t know where to go with this new Harris style, but due to the success of his previous electric record, why not go for a broad audience? Eddie Harris also experimented with various instruments to varying degrees of success in the late 60’s and early to mid 70’s. There aren’t too many people playing a guitorgan or saxobone these days, but give the guy credit where it’s due as someone who tried to do something different with his career whether it was successful or not. Unfortunately, his career would take a different turn at some point when he released a stand up comedy record. Thankfully he got back to music, playing with Horace Silver and touring in Europe where he had much success later on in his career. Harris also was part of the jam session with Bill Cosby and Quincy Jones that became the theme song from the early 70’s Bill Cosby Show brilliant theme “Hikky Burr”. Another bad ass tune if I ever heard one.
The song itself starts out a bit clunky with some percussion, but then the sax hook comes in. Recognize it at all? You should. It’s the sample that Premier used for “2 Deep”back in 1992 on Gangstarr’s Daily Operation record. The song then builds up to more sax, more drums (courtesy of Richard Smith or Grady Tate, which I think is hilarious, they weren’t sure who played them on the track) and Eddie does his thing, and Ron Carter picks up bass duties. This is definitely a track that play out, nothing like working doubles of that sample. So if you see Mr. Harris lying around in a dusty bin, pick him up, especially the late 60’s early 70’s electric joints. There is always something special to be found. For all you design geeks like myself, the typography and design on this record cover are both dope as well. Plug me in.
Preemo flips this Eddie Harris record on “2 Deep”