Felix Pappalardi

Dont Worry, Ma

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Notwithstanding a 1978 report that former Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi was reuniting with former Mountain drummer Corky Laing and joining Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson in a new supergroup, 1979's Don't Worry, Ma was a Pappalardi solo effort, the follow-up to his 1976 album Felix Pappalardi & Creation, in which he teamed with a Japanese rock quartet. This time, he employed a bunch of New York super-session musicians, only acting as singer with a basic band consisting of guitarist Eric Gale, keyboardist Richard Tee, bassist Chuck Rainey, and drummer Bernard Purdie (who also, amazingly, was the credited producer instead of Pappalardi), plus a collection of strings, reeds, and horns, as well as a trio of female backup singers. Nor had Pappalardi, as he usually did, co-written original material with his wife and lyricist, Gail Collins. Instead, this is a collection of covers including the leadoff track, the folk-blues standard "Bring It with You When You Come," the folk standard "Water Is Wide," Tommy Tucker's 1964 R&B hit "Hi-Heel Sneakers," and, in a funk arrangement, Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" (for which Pappalardi produced the original recording). The arrangements are in a bluesy, funky style, for the most part, suggesting Memphis soul or James Brown's band. It's the sort of music that requires a distinctive vocalist, but Pappalardi boasted only a conversational light tenor. At the age of 39, he was a bit long in the tooth to be switching gears and selling himself as a white soulman, not to mention that fans who knew his name from Cream and Mountain probably would buy this LP expecting music in his hard rock mode, and would therefore be disappointed.

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