A mover and shaker behind the New Orleans music scene, Eddie Bo had regional success in the late '50s with piano stroll-era novelties like "Check Mr. Popeye," but hit his stride a decade later with a brand of funk and soul that could only have originated in his hometown. "The Hook & Sling" was an R&B hit in 1969, propelled by Bo's good-natured exhortations and the undeniable groove from drummer James Black. The follow-up single, "(If It's Good to You) It's Good for You," did not achieve the same kind of chart success but is just as tough. The Hook and Sling collects Bo's output for a number of small New Orleans labels, as well as tracks previously unreleased. Primarily heavy funk instrumentals, with plenty of wah wah guitars and drum breaks, there are connections to Bo's musical past, including "Love Has Been Good" and "Come to Me"," two blues-based ballads that lean hard on Bo's piano. Despite the contrasting styles, Hook & Sling's material is impressively strong throughout, including good advice on love ("Check Your Bucket" and dance crazes "The Thang"). This is a life-changing release from the vaults.
The Hook and Sling Review
by Kurt Edwards