George Duke

I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry

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The list of heavyweights who join George Duke on 1975's I Love the Blues: She Heard My Cry is impressive -- some of the participants include Johnny "Guitar" Watson, singer Flora Purim, percussionist Airto Moreira, guitarist Lee Ritenour, drummer Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, and guitarist George Johnson (of Brothers Johnson fame). With such a cast, one would expect this 1975 LP to be outstanding, which it isn't. But it's a respectable effort that thrives on diversity. The highlights of this album range from decent fusion instrumentals, like "That's What She Said," "Giant Child Within Us-Ego," and "Sister Serene," to the mellow soul ballad "Someday" and the Jimi Hendrix-like heavy metal/hard rock offering "Rokkinrowl," which finds Duke singing lead and contains some of Ritenour's more forceful playing. Meanwhile, Duke and Watson perform a vocal duet on the title song, which is the only 12-bar blues number on the album. In 1975, some jazz fans wished that the artist would stick to instrumental fusion and stay away from R&B and rock singing, but, in fact, it was jazz that Duke would eventually move away from. I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry isn't recommended to those who only want to hear Duke as an instrumentalist, although it's enjoyable if you like hearing some rock, soul, and blues singing along with your fusion.

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