THE TWO FACES OF FAME -THE COMPLETE 1967 RECORDINGS Georgie Fame (2CD Deluxe Edition)
Co-incidentally it was only the other week elsewhere on the site we Smarties were discussing our favourite year in music, which in mine, Alan’s and several others was….1967..and into my letterbox drops this new 2CD set for review.
Why does this concentrate on just 1 year in Georgies long and illustrious career? Simply because it was the year he switched record companies and signed with CBS, a label that had a different approach to how it would promote Georgie. ‘ The Two Faces’ refers to the fact the album consisted of ‘live’ recordings from the Festival Hall and studio recordings and that his music meant different things to different people. Having of course scored two previous huge hits with the pop/r’n’b singles ‘Yeah Yeah’ and ‘Getaway’ casual listeners would probably just think of him as another blue eyed soul/pop singer. But avid fans were only too aware of his main drive which was fusing jazz, swing, r’n’b and soul in his own unique way and with his awesome mastery of his Hammond. A consummate musician he had been playing all the top London clubs like The Flamingo etc for years and numbered The Beatles amongst his fans and peers. He was/is also blessed with a warm vocal style which is instantly recognisable. This deluxe 2cd set is an expanded edition of the original album release with both stereo and mono mixes and a plethora of bonus and some unreleased tracks. The exhaustive liner notes tell the story of this period excellently, its a complicated one! However the mix of material is far ranging and encompasses all the previous elements previously mentioned from the blues of ‘Bluesology’ to the jazz/swing of ‘Green back Dollar Bill’ (a great track!) to the (bonus) old soul standard ‘Knock on Wood’. Now those with good memories will also recall this was also the year of his third big chart hit (included here) ‘The Ballad of Bonnie & Clyde’. Space doesn’t permit a long foray into this, however TBOB&C sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other tracks, lets just say the aforementioned CBS had a vision not shared by Georgie! Personally I also have always had an aversion to it as well! Of course these days fusing jazz with pop is all the rage and paradoxically that makes Georgie as relevant now as he was all those years ago, not that it bothers him one jot I imagine. He’s been making superb classy music for over 5 decades. Ive had the pleasure of working with him twice, solo and when he teemed up with Alan Price (see elsewhere on the SMART pages for that). Ive also seen him playing on at least 3 occasions with Van the Man.
A genuine affable and nice guy he is too. I have to be honest and say I generally shy away from ‘jazz’ its a genre ive never really go into, but Georgies style and fusion makes for a great listen and I have enjoyed listening to this album tremendously. Die hard fans will welcome and treasure this set without a doubt, and more casual listeners like myself will find much to reward listening. Its certainly given me a new perspective or should that be a retrospective view of his art.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/the-two-faces-of-fame-the-complete-1967-recordings/
Colin Fox… I still love the sound of Hammond organ through a Leslie speaker.
Andy Qunta… Can’t argue with that, Colin!
Colin Searle… Got that gorgeous warm sound