Alexis Korner / Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated

Sky High

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Sky High was a typically uneven Alexis Korner album on several accounts. First, the sky-high level of talent among the backup musicians -- including future Pentangle rhythm section Danny Thompson (bass) and Terry Cox (drums), as well as Duffy Power on harmonica -- was not matched to universally high-caliber material. Too, while admirably eclectic, the array of styles on display -- from down-n-dirty R&B to acoustic blues, out-there jazz, and almost traditional jazz blues -- seemed to indicate as much directionless as adventurousness. There was, too, no getting around Korner's severe limitations as a lead vocalist, a chore he undertook for five of the album's fifteen tracks. Fortunately, first-class blues-rock vocalist Duffy Power took lead vocals on four of the other tracks, and for that reason alone, Sky High is a worthwhile release. "Long Black Train" (which Power and Korner co-wrote) is a genuine lost British R&B gem, and the very best track Korner cut in that style, with its ominously echoing guitar, pummeling rhythm, and Power-ful vocals and harmonica.

Sadly, nothing else on the record comes close to matching it, though the album's not without its merits. There are, to start with, those four other tracks with Power on lead vocal, which are respectable R&B, though none of them are nearly as good as "Long Black Train" (and one of them, "I'm So Glad (You're Mine)," would be recorded by Power in a better version under his own name). There's also a raucous cover of Charles Mingus' "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting," though this and other jazz instrumentals on the record (including a horn section) are so different from the Power-led cuts that they could easily be mistaken for the work of a different band. The numbers on which Korner takes lead vocals, however, make one wish he'd had the humility and wisdom to let Power be the lead singer for most of the LP, though Korner does okay with the nicely swinging jazz blues tune "River's Invitation." Too, the three Korner solo guitar instrumentals that end the album seem like slight afterthoughts.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
3:02 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:48 SpotifyAmazon
3
2:49 SpotifyAmazon
4
3:51 SpotifyAmazon
5
4:59 SpotifyAmazon
6
3:37 SpotifyAmazon
7
2:14 SpotifyAmazon
8
2:17 SpotifyAmazon
9
3:07 SpotifyAmazon
10
2:54 SpotifyAmazon
11
2:37 SpotifyAmazon
12
4:48 SpotifyAmazon
13
2:59 SpotifyAmazon
14
1:29 SpotifyAmazon
15
1:24 SpotifyAmazon
16
3:37
17
3:23 Amazon
18
2:57
19
2:23
20 3:25
21
3:56
22
3:46
23 2:20
24
1:41
25 2:55
blue highlight denotes track pick