Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Soul & Psychedelia: Phil Upchurch - Upchurch (Chess Records,1969)

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Phil Upchurch

''Upchurch''

(LP Cadet Records, 1969)
Catalog # (DJ) LPS 826

Phillip Upchurch is an american soul - rhythm 'n' blues guitarist, born 19 July 1941 in Chicago, USA.
Prominent member of the Chicago Music scene since the early 50's.
A well respected teacher and instructor in addition to his performing reputation.
His main body of work can be heard on projects by George Benson, Bobby Blue Bland, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Kenny G, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Quincy Jones, Chaka Khan, Earl Klugh, Curtis Mayfield, Muddy Waters, and countless sound tracks and other projects.

Tracklisting & Hide Credits:
A1 Black Gold
Written-By – Charles Stepney 4:31
A2 America
Written-By – Paul Simon 3:30
A3 As You Said
Written-By – Jack Bruce, Pete Brown 2:31
A4 You Wouldn't, You Couldn't Be True
Written-By – Phil Upchurch 3:02
A5 Cross Town Traffic
Written-By – Jimi Hendrix 4:00
B1 Adam And Charlene
Written-By – Charles Stepney 4:19
B2 Spinning Wheel
Written-By – David Clayton-Thomas 3:28
B3 Voodoo Chile
Written-By – Jimi Hendrix 2:52
B4 More And More
Written-By – Don Juan, Vee Pee 2:43
B5 Midnight Chile
Written-By – Phil Upchurch 4:09

Personnel & Credits:
Bass – Louis Satterfield
Drums – Morris Jennings
Percussion – Bobby Christian
Piano – Donny Hathaway
Producer, Arranged By, Conductor – Charles Stepney

Notes:
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album
Country:US
Released:1969

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Review:
An incredible album from one of the greatest talents on the Chicago soul scene of the late 60s – guitarist Phil Upchurch, a player with an amazing sound! Phil could work in worlds that were equal parts soul and psychedelia – making his guitar a perfect accompaniment for the best Chicago soul of Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Minnie Riperton, and other greats of the time. This album's easily one of Phil's best – a mindblowing set of arrangements put together by the groundbreaking producer Charles Stepney – bringing together bits of jazz, rock, soul, and funk – all providing the perfect genre-blending space for Upchurch to solo! Given that there's no singer on the set, Phil's work on guitar is a lot freer than you're used to hearing – in a really great way, one that puts him in a space somewhere between Shuggie Otis and Jimi Hendrix! Brilliant all the way through, with tracks that include "Adam & Charlene", "You Wouldn't You Couldn't Be True", "Crosstown Traffic", "More & More", "Black Gold", "America", and "As You Said".
© 1996-2014, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

Biography:
From Wikipedia:
Upchurch started his career working with The Kool Gents, The Dells, and The Spaniels before going on to work with Curtis Mayfield, Otis Rush and Jimmy Reed. He then returned to Chicago to play and record with Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Groove Holmes, B.B. King, and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1961, when billed as the Philip Upchurch Combo, his recording of "You Can't Sit Down" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. In the 60's he toured with Oscar Brown, appearing on the 1965 live album, Mr. Oscar Brown, Jr. Goes to Washington. Returning from the Army in 1967, he recorded with Richard Evans, John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington, Jr. and Cannonball Adderley. Upchurch was part of a group called The Soulful Strings during the 1960s, prior to working with Rotary Connection on Chess's Cadet label.
In the 1970s he worked with Ramsey Lewis, Quincy Jones and led his own quartet with Tennyson Stephens. In the mid 1970s and 1980s, he performed with George Benson, Mose Allison, Gary Burton, Lenny Breau, Joe Williams, Natalie Cole, Carmen McRae, Cat Stevens and Michael Jackson.
In the 1990s he worked with Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff.
His son is the drummer, Sean Rickman.
His wife, his 7th, is actress Sonya Maddox.

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''Black Gold''

By Ron Wynn (AMG):
A prolific guitarist who is comfortable playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Phil Upchurch has been a prominent figure in Chicago music circles since the mid-'50s. He initially did freelance sessions with such musicians as Jerry Butler before becoming house guitarist for Chess. Upchurch's sensitive, often funky chording, riffs, and licks were heard on numerous releases by such artists as the Dells, Howlin' Wolf, Gene Chandler, and Muddy Waters. He frequently teamed with drummer Maurice White, who later headed Earth, Wind & Fire. He formed the Phil Upchurch Combo in the early '60s, and had a hit with the instrumental "You Can't Sit Down" in 1961. They did some follow-up singles, but none equaled the initial record's success. Upchurch did several soul-jazz and funk dates for such labels as Sue and Cadet in the mid- and late '60s. He signed with Blue Thumb in the '70s and split his time between sessions with the Crusaders and Ben Sidran and making his own albums. Tommy LiPuma produced Darkness, Darkness and Lovin' Feelin in 1972 and 1973. Upchurch did one LP for Creed Taylor's Kudu label in 1975, Upchurch Tennyson, with pianist/vocalist Tennyson Stephens. He returned to studio work, but recorded as a leader for Palladin in 1985, Ichiban in 1991, and Ridgetop in 1995 and 1997. He remains active as a session musician and bandleader, returning in 1999 with Rhapsody & Blues. Tell the Truth appeared in spring 2001.

From AllAboutJazz:
Chicago-born guitarist and bassist Phil Upchurch has been backing jazz, blues, and pop stars for over 50 years. What magic formula has allowed him to record and perform with everyone from Otis Rush and Donny Hathaway to George Benson and Michael Jackson? Aside from Upchurch’s immense talent and versatility, it also has to do with the fact that the guitarist is very detail oriented”particularly when it comes to rhythmic and melodic phrasing. Whether comping or soloing, Upchurch thinks like a drummer and always plays with and not on top of the band.
“If you listen to [drummer] Philly Joe Jones’ snare, you can get a lot of ideas for rhythmic comping on the guitar,” offers Upchurch, who also points to Miles Davis”with his masterful blend of sustained notes and silence”as essential listening for all aspiring jazzers. Upchurch says that, like Davis, a great soloist must practice mindful interaction with the band, knowing exactly when and when not to play.

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''Cross Town Traffic''

Main Discography:
As leader:

You Can't Sit Down (Boyd 1961)
You Can't Sit Down, Part Two (United Artists 1961)
Twist the Big Hit Dances (United Artists 1961)
Feeling Blue (Milestone 1968)
Upchurch (Cadet Concept 1968)
The Way I Feel (Cadet Concept 1969)
Darkness, Darkness (Blue Thumb 1972)
Lovin' Feelin' (Blue Thumb 1973)
Upchurch Tennyson (Kudu 1975)
Phil Upchurch (1978)
Revelation (Jam 1982)
Name of the Game (Jam 1983)
Companions (Paladin 1985)
L.A. Jazz Quintet (Pro Arte 1986)
All I Want (Ichiban 1991)
Love Is Strange (Go Jazz 1995)
Whatever Happened to the Blues? (Ridgetop/Bean 1997)
Rhapsody & Blues (Go Jazz 1999)
Tell the Truth! (Evidence 2001) produced by Carla Olson

As sideman:
With George Benson
Good King Bad (CTI, 1975)
Breezin' (Warner Bros., 1976)
With Dizzy Gillespie
The Real Thing (Perception, 1969)
With Hubert Laws
The Chicago Theme (CTI, 1974)

On Line:
Wikipedia
Phil Upchurch official site
AllAboutJazz
Discogs
Dusty Groove
SoulWalking
AMG
Soul Sides


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(Demo Short Clips - not downloadables)
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