Quincy Jones

You've Got It Bad Girl

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Quincy Jones followed up Smackwater Jack and his supervision of Donny Hathaway's Come Back Charleston Blue soundtrack with this, a mixed bag that saw him inching a little closer toward the R&B-dominated approach that reached full stride on the following Body Heat and peaked commercially with The Dude. That said, the album's most notorious cut is "The Streetbeater" -- better known as the Sanford & Son theme, a novelty for most but also one of the greasiest, grimiest instrumental fusions of jazz and funk ever laid down -- while its second most noteworthy component is a drastic recasting of "Summer in the City," as heard in the Pharcyde's "Passin' Me By," where the frantic, bug-eyed energy of the Lovin' Spoonful original is turned into a magnetically lazy drift driven by Eddie Louis' organ, Dave Grusin's electric piano, and Valerie Simpson's voice. (Simpson gives the song a "Summertime"-like treatment.) Between that, the title song (a faithfully mellow version, with Jones' limited but subdued vocal lead), a medley of Aretha Franklin's "Daydreaming" and Ewan MacColl's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," and a light instrumental, roughly half the album is mood music, and it's offset with not just "The Streetbeater" but a large-scale take on "Manteca," a spooky-then-overstuffed "Superstition" (where the uncredited Billy Preston, Bill Withers, and Stevie Wonder are billed as "three beautiful brothers"), and the "Streetbeater" companion "Chump Change" (co-written with Bill Cosby). The best here can be had on comps, but the album is by no means disposable. [Given a straight reissue in early 2009 via Verve's Originals series.]

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