This two-for-one CD brings together a pair of 1970s albums by saxophonist/flautist David "Fathead" Newman--CAPTAIN BUCKLES (1971) and FRONT MONEY (1977). Both records traffic in funky, R&B-laden soul-jazz, with plenty of tight grooves from Newman's ace session band (including Blue Mitchell on trumpet). Of course, there is an abundance of soulful leads from Newman himself, who is equally at home on alto, tenor, or soprano saxophone, as well as the flute.
Newman's melodic sense and at-ease approach are unwavering on CAPTAIN BUCKLES's funk workouts ("Negus") and floating ballads (his pleasing cover of the Beatles' "Something"). FRONT MONEY begins with a rendition of "Amazing Grace," but segues into moody, groove-intensive music on the mid-tempo "Sneakin' In" and the burbling title track. There is an earthiness and accessibility to these albums (rhythm and mood are featured over technical flash) that makes them fun and appealing. This release is a treasure trove for DJs and beat-seekers, as well as a fine representation of Newman's '70s work.