RUNNING THE VOODOO DOWN 2: PSYCHROCKFUNKSOULJAZZ 1965-77 

Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2-Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77

Label: TAD.

Release Date: ‘9th’ November 2018.

Just nineteen months after the release of the critically acclaimed Running The Voodoo Down compilation, the much-anticipated follow-up Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2  will be released on the ‘9th’ November 2018 by TAD. Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 has been complied by Dean Rudland and Tony Harlow, and finds the two curators looking at a decade where African-American music was heading in a variety of different directions thanks pioneering musicians.  All this took place against a backdrop of economic, political and social  change within America.

Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2  is a lovingly curated complain that features fifteen tracks from some of the biggest names including John Coltrane, The Byrds, Herbie Hancock, The Temptations, Dr John and Isaac Hayes. They’re joined by MC5, Joe Zawinul, Shuggie Otis, Melvin Van Peebles and Bob Thiele who all released groundbreaking music which never found the audience it deserved. It was only later that the tracks which featured Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 were rediscovered by crate diggers, DJs, discerning record collectors and several generations of artists who the music influenced. However, between 1965 and 1977 these fifteen tracks were part of the soundtrack in America when the times they were a changing.

Especially by the mid-sixties when music started to change, and became darker, and carried a  political or social message. This was very different to the twee three chord pop were rhyming couplets of a few year earlier. Now musicians and bands wanted to be agents for change and make a difference in America where racism was rife while poverty and unemployment were rising. To make matters worse, the Vietnam War raged and young Americans died fighting a war that wasn’t their making. 

Meanwhile, music was changing including jazz, led by one of its pioneers John Coltrane. He realised that jazz had to evolve and move away from the hard bop and the organ trios that gave kitsch a bad name. John Coltrane and his Quartet recorded his groundbreaking classic album A Love Supreme, which was released in December 1965 and is regarded as one of the most important post war jazz albums. A Love Supreme Pt 1 Acknowledgement opens John Coltrane’s critically acclaimed and influential epic, which fittingly opens Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2. It’s the perfect start to the compilation and sets the bar high.

The Byrds were also musical pioneers, who were inspired by the energy of John Coltrane’s modal classic My Favourite Things, Ravi Shankar, space travel and drug culture on their perfect pop single Eight Miles High. Drug culture obviously influenced Shuggie Otis when he wrote and recorded Aht Uh Mi Head. It’s a reminder of one of the most talented but sadly underrated musicians of his generation, Shuggie Otis.

Very different to Shuggie Otis is the raw energy MC5. They released their debut album Kick Out The Jams in the 1969. It’s a genre-melting cult classic that features the proto-punk of Starship. However, like much of the music on Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 it only influenced musicians and found an audience at a later date.

Meanwhile, between 1965 and 1977 musicians were being inspired by everything from music to Afrocentric politics which inspired Lou Bond’s To The Establishment. Jazz pioneer Miles Davis, whom had embraced fusion inspired may of his sidemen to form their own bands, including  Joe Zawinul who contributes In A Silent Way to Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2. Very different is the innovative free jazz of guitarist Sonny Sharrock’s Black Woman which was the title-track to his 1969 album. Other jazz tracks include Equinox by vocalist Sarah Webster Fabio 1977 eponymous album. Both are welcome inclusions to Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 and help document how music was changing during that period.

Although music was changing, Jimi Hendrix groundbreaking and genre-melting albums were still influencing many a musician. This included Jimi Macon who pays homage to his hero with Jimi’s Guitar Rap. By the seventies the influence of the late Jimi Hendrix could be heard in many Blaxploitation soundtracks.One of the pioneers of Blaxploitation was Isaac Hayes who contributes Do Your Thing. One of the classic Blaxploitation  soundtracks  as Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (An Opera) which features Sweetback’s Theme. It’s a reminder of a classic Blaxploitation soundtrack.

Genre-melting describes Dr John’s Zu Zu Mamou, while there’s a darkness and drama to the Chairmen Of The Board’s Life and Death In The G&A Suite. Very different is The Temptations’ hopeful sounding  Ungena Za Ulimwenga (Unite The World); Closing Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 is an edited versions of Bob Thiele’s Lament For John Coltrane. It’s thought provoking end to this lovingly curated compilation

Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 is without doubt one of the best and most eclectic compilations of recent months. It will be released on the ‘9th’ November 2018 by TAD, and features everything from Blaxploitation, free jazz, funk, psychedelia, rock and soul. Curators Dean Rudland and Tony Harlow have compiled a compilation that oozes quality, and Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2 is a truly eclectic collection of groundbreaking music that documents what was an  important period in modern American history which saw a country change.

Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2-Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77

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