Shorty / Georgie Fame

Shorty Featuring Georgie Fame

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Though not too untypical for a Georgie Fame release, Shorty Featuring Georgie Fame has an odd place in the Fame discography. First, it was billed to a group, Shorty, with the words "Featuring Georgie Fame" printed in very small type beneath "Shorty" on the cover, with no picture of Fame (or, for that matter, Shorty) to be found anywhere in the artwork. Second, it was only released in the U.S., although Fame's commercial profile, even at the time of its 1970 appearance, was considerably bigger in his native U.K. It was also recorded live (in a fairly small club judging by the sound of the applause), though no mention of this is made anywhere on the packaging, and in fact even the author of the Rev-Ola CD reissue's fine liner notes remains unaware of the location. For all that, it's not that unlike Fame's other records from the era, and does prominently feature him as singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, even if he seemed almost to be hiding behind a group persona (à la David Bowie with Tin Machine many years later). If there's anything to distinguish it from other Fame albums, it's that the guitar sometimes has a more prominent role, and the songs sometimes stretch out in the manner that was fashionable in the psychedelic/hard rock era. That's especially noticeable on the nearly six-minute opener, "Oliver's Gone"; you don't hear many Fame cuts with long blues-rock solos. Yet Fame's customary attributes -- assured jazz/R&B vocals and glowing organ -- remain in place, and some tracks, like "Bluesology" and "Seventh Son," are pretty much of a piece with his more straightforward mid-'60s work (though here Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm," which he'd recorded in September 1963 on his first live LP, is extended to seven minutes). Georgie gets more personal and introspective than usual, to good effect, on "Saskatchewan Sunrise" and "Inside Story," while the 12-minute "Fully Booked" is especially epic by Fame standards. This isn't the best or most representative Fame album, but one that should be heard by his fans, even if it doesn't include his most outstanding material.

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