1968 was the year when rock music went back to its roots. Many cite Dylan & the Band and their search for a mythical America, but for others it was a return to the jazz, soul and rhythm & blues they had grown up with and that first got them into music. “Horn Rock & Funky Guitar Grooves” explores these escapes from psychedelia in a 17-track compilation that stretches geographically from New Jersey to San Francisco, and on down to Memphis and New Orleans as rock once again became danceable.
Horn Rock traditionally refers to the jazz style of big band-arranged rock associated with the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears (who are featured with ‘Roller Coaster’) and Chicago, music that showed the influence of jazz on the post-war children who became rock stars in the 1960s. It’s clearly there with Al Kooper’s take on Hayes & Porter’s ‘Toe Hold’, San Francisco’s The Sons with their De La Soul-sampled ‘Boomp, Boomp, Chomp’, Chase’s frenetic ‘Run Back To Mama’, Lighthouse’s Acid Jazz floor-filler ‘One Fine Morning’ and Donnie Brooks’ previously unreleased ‘Blow Your Mind’.
Others looked to the touring R&B bands for their influence. This was most obvious in the Memphis-recorded Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘It’s Been A Long Time Coming’, and the bands that emerged from Bill Graham’s San Francisco label; Cold Blood, Tower Of Power and Hammer. The last of those replaced the horns with guitars and organ, as did the East Coast’s Crystal Mansion. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and his alumnus Mike Bloomfield in the Electric Flag embraced horns after starting out as pioneers of electric guitar.
“Horn Rock & Funky Guitar Grooves” embraces an era and a sound that is often overlooked for self-consciously heavier and hipper sounds. These records are today sampled for their good grooves, and championed by DJs of retro sounds for their dancefloor adaptability.
Available on CD and double LP.