For his second Warner Bros. LP, Peddlin' Music on the Side, Motown veteran Lamont Dozier turns the production reigns over to Stewart Levine (The Crusaders, Minnie Riperton's Adventures in Paradise, Hugh Masekela). Pianist Joe Sample & bassist Wilton Felder of The Crusaders are on hand to make stellar contributions, giving Dozier his most jazz flavored album. As usual with a Lamont Dozier album, you have the top musicians, singers, arrangers, and engineering staff involved. The propulsive album opener, "Sight for Sore Eyes," opens with a striking string and horn arrangement. For the chugging, low key "What Am I Gonna Do 'bout You (Girl)" Dozier slyly caresses the lyric in a manner that suggests that he thinks that "his bad girl is good." "Break the Ice" bops along on thumping bass and soft conga. The inspiring "Tear Down the Walls" has lyrics that admonish: "there's no hope unless we change within/ let protect our let's be friends/ peace on earth and harmony/ it could be a reality/ it's up to you and me/ tear down the walls." The Afro-centric disco hit "Going Back to My Roots" was co-arranged by Hugh Masekela and has a message that most can relate to: "zipping up my boots/ going back to my roots/ to the place of my birth/ back down to earth/ ain't talkin' 'bout no roots in the land/ talkin' 'bout the roots in the man." The 12" version of "Going Back to My Roots" is a collectible and the song was a 1981 disco hit for RCA Records group Odyssey ("Native New Yorker"). The heart-tugging, dramatically arranged "Family" paints a picture of the family under attack. The warm-toned ballad "Peddlin' Music on the Side" lists the travails of trying to make it in the music business. This album stands as one of Lamont Dozier's finest works.
Peddlin' Music on the Side Review
by Ed Hogan