Next up on the recent thrift store hit parade is Blacks And Blues from jazz/funk flautist Bobbi Humphrey:
This is my first ever Blue Note Records score! The simple white cover and black and white photo caught my eye first if for no other reason than it wasn’t a Mitch Miller, Andy Williams or Perry Como record (thank goodness!).
Ms. Humphrey was unknown to me, but the notes on the front cover (continued on the back) from Leonard Brown started out like this:
“ Bobbi Humphrey. Where is she coming from? Where is she going to? If we’re straight on our priorities, you’ll be listening to her album while I tell you about some of the answers…”
So, I laid down my $0.49, rushed home, cleaned the vinyl up and gave it a spin. It turns out, the answers are:
- She’s coming from Texas, via the New York jazz scene… sent up there in the early 1970s by none other than Dizzy Gillespie after seeing here play in a talent show at SMU. According to Brown’s album notes, her first weekend in the Big Apple she played a gig with Duke Ellington!
- She’s going to Montreux, where she’ll apparently make a big splash…
Humphrey makes her vocal debut on this, her third record, on two of the laid back tunes, Just a Love Child and Baby’s Gone. It’s a light and airy voice, but not contrived or falsetto fake like much of the pop female vocals of the era.
This is a good summertime record… just enough funk to keep a party going but remain relaxed. And for $0.49 (and with a few unfortunate spindle marks across side 1) it plays quite well! Unfortunately, the recording quality leaves something to be desired… on my system anyway. It sounded harsh and brassy in places… somewhat jarring.
I’ll give this one another spin on a more passive day, hopefully with some sunshine, friends and a BBQ backdrop for a reevaluation.
Here she is doing an “updated” version of the second song off of Blacks And Blues, Harlem River Drive: