Lou Donaldson

Blowing in the Wind

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Blowing in the Wind is perhaps the most curious and oddly compelling of the dates Lou Donaldson cut for Cadet during his mid-'60s exile from the Blue Note stable -- a mish-mash of contemporary pop hits, stage favorites, and standards all packaged in a bizarrely Picasso-like cover, the record's inconsistencies and contradictions make for an experience that's unique even in the context of Donaldson's erratic and eclectic oeuvre. The rollicking and buoyant reading of the Bob Dylan perennial which lends the set its title is completely wide of the mark -- Donaldson's arrangement is so upbeat and feather light, it's as if he never even glanced at the song's original lyrics, yet at the same time the groove is genuinely funky, and it's arguably the record's most truly soulful moment. A close second is the Donaldson original "The Wheeler-Dealer," which benefits from Sam Jones' "Duke of Earl"-inspired bass and its composer's blistering alto leads; although an ill-conceived rendition of "Hello Dolly" is forced and insipid, the group redeems itself with the lovely "Relaxin' in Blue," a 12-bar blues notable for the grace and restraint of its solos.

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