Dicky Oliver

Dicky Oliver

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One has to wonder how this lone album by the all but totally unknown drummer Dicky Oliver came to be. Recorded for RCA in Italy in 1968, this date, with a completely uncredited cast, is a stone killer that melds Booker T. & The MG's' groove to Prestige-styled soul-jazz and funk. While the drummer's knockout breaks and nasty grooves underlie everything here, this is one hell of a Hammond B-3 date, complete with a fat horn section and killer guitar. Schema's Rearward imprint has issued this ultra-rare date, which was rumored not to have been commercially released. The program includes three smoking reads of James Brown tunes, including a stunning version of "The Chicken." Other highlights include Oliver's own "The Funky Drummer" (written with Caribbean trumpeter Eddie Thornton and inspired by the Brown jam of the same name), showcasing his break style. "Grazing in the Grass" is a blissed-out take of Hugh Masekela's classic, and there's a hard-swinging read of "Cannonball's Theme" by Cannonball Adderley. While the covers vs. originals ratio is standard for soul-jazz records of the period, these performances are not only expert, but more inspired than loads of records by better known artists from the same era. The only pity is that we don't know who the rest of the players are -- the B-3 player is a monster. DJs and groove fans will delight in this finger popper.

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