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Freddie Roach: Brown Sugar

I wanted to like this reissue of 1964’s Brown Sugar so much more than I do because organist Freddie Roach’s liner notes are so poetic, so earnest. He describes how he wanted to do “soul show tunes” for the “dancers in my head,” but they must be slow hoofers because much of Brown Sugar has a muggy quality to it, usually due to drummer Clarence Johnston. On the Roach-penned title track and “Next Time You See Me” Johnston plays with almost 1930s-style rigidity to his not-quite-funky-enough drumming. Also on “Brown Sugar,” Eddie Wright’s muddy guitar fights tonally with Roach’s organ during certain sections.

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