13 July 2006
DAVID AXELROD - THE AUCTION
Rather than deal with his usual religious themes, Axelrod dedicated this album to slavery with a picture of a slave auction on the front and back of the gatefold cover. The opening refrain Oh! Freedom is a Gospel tune, but then Axelrod quickly turns to probably one of his most straight head Soul-Funk songs with the title track powered by the drumming of John Guerin and the congas of King Errison. The song gets even better with a guitar, drum and bass breakdown in the middle. Eventually the guitar of David T. Walker fades out and bassist James Hughart gets to solo over the drums and congas. Sympathy is a slow Jazz song with female singing that begins with just the guitar and bass. The lyrics are based upon the poem of the same name by early African American writer and poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. The piece has the famous line “I know why the caged bird sings.” Debt and Be Proud, My Race! are in a similar vein and are also based upon Dunbar’s writing. Be Proud, My Race! comes closest to the classic Axelrod sound with the group singing, although in this case it sounds like a chorus from a Show tune rather than Axelrod’s usual Gregorian Monk stuff. The album switches back to the Funk with another laidback cut entitled Freedom, before picking the pace up with the instrumental Leading Citizen that features a drum and conga break and a drum break in between hits on the bass, and a really nice solo by Walker. Joe Sample also appears, and the album was co-produced by Cannonball Adderley.Review from Soulstrut by Motown 67.
Released by Decca in 1972 this has never made a cd re-issue but it is supposed to be getting an "official"vinyl re-issue of 500 copies very shortly.
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