Gone Digital: Toe Fat, Hank Crawford, Jackie Lomax, Ubiquity, and more
If it’s Tuesday, then it must be time for Gone Digital, our weekly look at five recent additions to Rhino’s digital catalog. As ever, the types of music we’ll be covering will be all over the place, but that’s Rhino for you: we’re all about variety!
• Toe Fat, TOE FAT (1970): This British band only lasted for two albums and never found massive commercial success, but their lineup is rather notable. On this album, you’ve got Cliff Bennett, late of the Rebel Rousers, as frontman; guitarist Ken Hensley and drummer Lee Kerslake, both of whom would soon join Uriah Heep; and bassist John Glascock, who subsequently joined Chicken Shack, Carmen, and – most famously – Jethro Tull. Also notable is the album’s second track, “Bad Side of the Moon,” which was an early composition by one Elton John. Lastly, if you like what you hear on this album, be aware that the band’s second and final album, TOE FAT TWO, is also a recent addition to Rhino’s digital catalog.
• Hank Crawford, IT’S A FUNKY THING TO DO (1971): Before he set his sights on a solo career, it’s inarguable that Crawford’s most famous accomplishment was serving as musical director for Ray Charles, but once he departed from Brother Ray’s employ and formed his own septet, he became a pretty big deal in his own right. This album was actually his 11th for Atlantic, although it was the first one released in conjunction with Cotillion Records. Aside from the title track, the best number is probably Crawford’s cover of “Parker’s Mood.”
• Jackie Lomax, THREE (1972): Although he’d been a fixture on the UK music scene since the early ‘60s as a member of the Undertakers, a Merseybeat band who were contemporaries of the Beatles, it wasn’t until he was signed as a solo act to the Fab Four’s label, Apple Records, that he got a big boost in profile, thanks to recording a George Harrison composition entitled “Sour Milk Sea,” but what he didn’t get was a hit: the song didn’t chart at all in the UK and only entered the Bubbling Under section of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This album came out several years later, and while it wasn’t a hit, either, it does include – among other tunes – a great song called “Hellfire, Night-Crier” which features Rick Danko on bass, Levon Helm on drums, and future Orleans guitarist – and even more future Maryland congressman – John Hall.
• Ubiquity, STARBOOTY (1978): You may not know this band by themselves, but they served as Roy Ayers’ band for the half-decade prior to the release of this LP. We’ll be honest, the biggest reason we chose to spotlight it here today is because the title of the album made us laugh...and then we listened to the title track, and we laughed even harder. We’re not saying it isn’t good and funky, because lord knows it is, but you try keeping a smile off your face when they start singing, “I’m a star / You’re a star / Starbooty!”
• Various Artists, THE WORD FROM THE PULPIT (2002): Subtitled “Spiritual Grooves from the Vaults of Atlantic and Warner Bros. 1963-1974,” this compilation features some great stuff that you’ve probably never heard before, including tunes from Mose Allison, Yusef Lateef, Oscar Brown Jr., and more. No, don’t get down on your knees and thank us for reissuing it digitally. Just give it a spin!