Various Artists

Fritz the Cat

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The soundtrack to the early-'70s underground cartoon hit, based on an R. Crumb character, was produced by Ed Bogas and Ray Shanklin, who also ended up writing much of the material. Most of it's funky instrumental soul-jazz, with contributions by such noted players as Bernard Purdie (drums), Merl Saunders (organ), Melvin Sparks (guitar), and Chuck Rainey (bass); Cal Tjader plays vibes on his own tune, "Mamblues." It's well-suited for the kind of loose, Joe Cool ambience of the film; judged purely as soul-jazz, it's just average. Providing a bit of variety are cuts licensed from Bo Diddley ("Bo Diddley"), Billie Holiday ("Yesterdays"), and the Watson Sisters, who deliver a gospel-soul number. The album's been reissued on a CD that also includes the soundtrack to Ralph Bakshi's subsequent adult-oriented animated feature, Heavy Traffic.