Friday, 16 April 2010

Hank Crawford - Tico Rico

Tico Rico


256+ VBR LAME mp3
Vinyl rip & scans from Kudu KU-35

Although this popped up on the essential and now-defunct The CTI Never Sleeps blog a while ago, I thought I'd offer up another rip from my clean copy of this fairly rare OOP session Hank Crawford recorded for Creed Taylor's Kudu imprint. There was also an issue with the tracks on that version being wrongly named and tagged, which is not a concern here since they are correct in this package.

This album actually highlights the issue of abuse of copyright laws since rumour has it the original tapes have disappeared. If true, this would mean CTI does not hold the original sound recordings and would only be able to exert rights based on ownership of a copy - which Brooklyn Law School's Jason Mazzone has included as one of the four types of what he calls "copyfraud." However, try as I could, I could find no official statement that the master tapes for this album no longer exist but it still doesn't necessarily mean the album is in the public domain, or the even greyer category of "orphaned works," by default just because no one can technically prove they "own" the original.

There may be other reasons CTI has not reissued this record. Out of the eight records Crawford recorded for Kudu, this is not the only one to never see a reissue since originally hitting the streets; neither Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing nor Cajun Sunrise have been released in digital format either. The remaining five that have been given the CD treatment are only available as Japanese imports on the King label.

For some reason, CTI has never reissued any of Crawford's albums on this side of the pond and the sole Crawford Kudu release on iTunes is Wildflower. WTF is up with that? It's especially odd since you'd think record company ghouls would be grinding his corpse like nobody's business after his passing just over a year ago. It's what they do best. Y'know, maybe there is some truth to the rumour after all...

Tico Rico & Funky Rooster

Fairly popular on its release, Tico Rico debuted at #31 in its first week and ultimately peaked at #28 on Billboard's 1977 Jazz Album chart. Of course, you know what that means to our favourite whipping boy over at AMG ...

Review by Scott Yanow

This LP has generally weak material ("Teach Me Tonight") is the only standard, the arrangements by David Matthews are routine and Crawford's soulful alto sounds obviously overdubbed over the string section; the "background" vocals on "Lullaby of Love" also do not help. The only reason to acquire this album is to hear Crawford's always appealing sound, but there are many more rewarding Hank Crawford recordings currently available.
In other words, Hank's holdin' his down but there's too much funky business goin' on out there on the lawn. Of course, this latter aspect is of most interest to our merchant friends at Dusty Groove, who are more forgiving and even more succinct playing up the album's strengths in their appraisal:
More of a David Matthews album than a Hank Crawford one -- as Matthews handled the arrangements in that slick funky big band style he was using at the time, letting Crawford come into solo over the top, but not really leading the session in any sort of obvious way.
However, probably the definitive assessment of this record on the web is likely courtesy of (surprise, surprise) CTI afficianado numero uno Doug Payne. He devotes a few paragraphs to this album in his insightful essay covering Matthews' work for Creed Taylor during the 70s. Not just a purveyor of fact-filled fanboy fodder, his wit and passion for the subject matter at hand always makes for an enjoyable read. I've snipped out some of the background info and play-by-play for Tico Rico in hopes you'll visit Doug's blog to learn more:
Hank Crawford recorded many albums for the Atlantic, Kudu and Milestone labels during his career, but very few on any label that had more than one or two great tunes. This is one that is terrific from start to finish, with Crawford in perfectly bluesy and swinging form, driven by Matthews's superb, yet simplified, electrifying charts. If a soloist is only as good as his arranger, then Matthews is probably the best Crawford ever had (and Crawford was the guy who arranged for Ray Charles!). Tico Rico - which has never been issued on CD - is undoubtedly their best work together. <<...>> Matthews provides an alluring, romantic underscore that Crawford simply sets alight. A fine achievement for both Hank Crawford and David Matthews.

Sax - Hank Crawford
Sax - Michael Brecker
Trumpet - Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker
Flute - Jeremy Steig
Guitar - Eric Gale
Bass - Gary King
Drums - Steve Gadd, Steve Taylor
Keyboards - Cliff Carter, Dave Matthews
Percussion - Nicky Marrero, Sue Evans
Cello - Alan Shulman, Charles McCracken
Viola - Emanuel Vardi, Lamar Alsop
Violin - Charles Libove, David Nadien, Emanuel Green, Marvin Morgenstern, Matthew Raimondi, Max Ellen, Max Pollikoff, Paul Gershman
Backing Vocals - Frank Floyd, Raymond Simpson, Zachary Sanders

1 Tico Rico
2 Teach Me Tonight
3 Lady Soul
4 Lullaby Of Love
5 I've Just Seen A Face
6 Lament
7 Funky Rooster

Soundological suggests you take your own Tico Rico to go while it's still hot in the comments!


Anonymous said...





deGallo said...

RE:Hank Crawford-Tico Rico...listening to Teach Me Tonight as I type. Chills, man...! What a sound. Always loved HCs sound, so thanks very much for an excellent rip, great scans, great site.

JAZZYPIER ♪ said...

Thank you Cheeba! Very appreciate!

ish said...

Wow I had missed the fact that the CTI Never Sleeps had gone to sleep with the fishes!

Anyway, thanks for this one.

Goofy said...

I have always liked the CTI sound, not every album, but in general. Haven't listened to this one yet, the line-up looks good. Sad to hear about CTI Never Sleeps.
Thanks Cheeba!

cheeba said...

@deGallo, you're very welcome. Thanks a lot for the compliments too!

@JP, what can I say? Always nice to know when I can offer something of interest to the MFS crew!

@ish, just found out after I published. I started the post a few days ago and it was all good then so must have happened some time this week. And you are most certainly welcome! PS hope you're enjoying Record Store Day - I'm on my way out now...

@Goofy, my feelings exactly but I have a strong preference for the Kudu offshoot. Those were often a bit grittier, especially earlier on. Hope you enjoy this one!

Kostas from Greece said...

Great album,excellent scans,thank you very very much...

E-mile said...

cheeba i will give it a spin...
btw regarding the CTI never sleeps, check here:
peace, E-mile

xensma said...

if the whole album is as good as the two samples i have to get it!!very nice drop!!

Anonymous said...


cheeba said...

Wow, no response by me to the wonderful readers who left a comment here? I been busy but shame on me...

@Kostas, you're very welcome. I'm glad to hear you appreciate the scans since they are the most time-consuming part of the process (besides the writing, that is).

@E-mile, thanks for the tip, Can't say I was surprised due to recent trends.

@xensma, you oughtta know by now it was well worth your time if you liked the two sample cuts. Enjoy!

@anon, IN THE FIRST COMMENT POST and no need to yell.

Oakdaddy said...

I'm enjoying Flow and the Hank Crawford. AND...getting cti 1002 from the estimable CTI Never Sleeps Blog. I figured out the links are visible in the cached image (Thx GOOGLE) and many are alive....many many thanks to all you gentlemanly scholarly mentors!

MAn said...

many thanks!
Rico rico :)