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Hank Mobley: Reach Out!

For discs like Reach Out!, Blue Note should have started a new, Obsessive Fan Series, because only the truly clinical Hank Mobley fanatic is going to buy this ’68 anomaly. Yes, the “Reach Out!” is the Four Tops chartbuster, and that’s not the only dreadful big-hit cover on this severely blemished date; you also get a seemingly endless version of that Little Anthony and the Imperials classic, “Going Out Of My Head.” If you’re not already going out of your head, here’s the ace kicker: George Benson is on the date, his work on these a harrowing pre-echo of “On Broadway.”

Really, you ask, how bad could this be? Hey, if the FBI and ATF played “Reach Out” and “Going Out Of My Head” around the clock in stand-offs and hostage situations, someone would actually surrender. And quick.

The real torture for the garden variety Mobley freak, however, is the knowledge that there are four real-deal tracks on this sextet date. Three are penned by Mobley, and all reflect his ability to spice basic blues and hard bop structures with a deft turn of phrase. Trumpeter Woody Shaw, pianist Lamont Johnson, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Billy Higgins round out the tenor titan’s sextet on this Titanic of a disc, and they all go down swinging. Even Benson acquits himself on these cuts.

Originally Published