=Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries

Hello again. Although my time's been pretty well occupied with all things related to caring for a child, it looks like we're starting to develop a bit of a schedule. Luckily for me, the change of pace has afforded a bit of free time to pull out a nice little Latin side for your listening pleasure.

Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries - Willie Bobo - Verve

A little while back I stumbled across this box set from Verve records that I couldn't reasonably pass up*. A big part of my inability to avoid it's purchase stemmed from the great cover art (see the photograph above). However, what really sealed the deal was a "nice price" opportunity to hone in my knowledge of a jazz percussionist that was effectively unknown to my ears at the time. Luckily for me, this was a wise choice as the set includes five 45s containing tracks from each of Willie's three Verve LPs (Spanish Grease, Uno Dos Tres/1,2,3, and Feelin' So Good). Also included was a one-page info sheet which, aside from giving a fair bit of biographical information, identifies jazz pianist (and digger's dream) Mary Lou Williams as the party responsible for breaking Willie into the scene**. The insert also mentions that after his work with Williams, Willie played with Cal Tjader for 4 years and was a featured player with Tito Puente before deciding to start doing his own thing in 1961. While recording under his own name he released sixteen albums, including a staggering seven LPs for the Verve label between 1965-1968 and the funky classic Do What You Want To Do, Tomorrow Is Here for Sussex in 1971. Unfortunately for the music world, Willie passed away at the age of 49 after complications from illness.

Relying only on an echo-ey chorus singing the title over and over, some fairly simple percussion, and a smooth, slinky horn line, Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries burns along at a nice slow pace. In reality, I think it's the simplicity of this song that really makes it so great, as there's no unnecessary filler muddying things up. This track has always been the standout of the box set for me, as it creates a vibe that reminds of warm summer nights. Enjoy, and I'll try to be back in the next few days with something new for your listening pleasure.

*This box set is from the "Verve Celebrity Scene" series, which also features boxes from Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery.

**I've since read that Willie Bobo (born William Correa) was given the nickname "Bobo" by Mary Lou Williams during his time playing with her.