10 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Doing what Norton Records does best, the highly praised reissue label unearthed these tapes from a June 1966 recording session in New York City. The tapes represent a shift in sound for Esquerita, capturing a session that's clearly loose and free. Esquerita's manic organ and piano chases his spirited vocals, with only a drummer in evidence. Despite (or because of) the two-man lineup, the playing is fearless. Both takes of the title track (based on Nina Simone's version) are tours de force; together they're nine minutes of a jam that sounds like a full band tripping on free jazz, be-bop, and early rock 'n' roll with the same force Esquerita brought to '50s rock 'n' roll on his Capitol Records releases. This minimalist approach leaves room for the drummer and Esquerita to each play around. "Leave Me Alone" (in two takes), "Letter Full of Tears," "On Broadway," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" have never sounded more alive. The only drawback is that there isn't more material than these 10 tracks. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

Doing what Norton Records does best, the highly praised reissue label unearthed these tapes from a June 1966 recording session in New York City. The tapes represent a shift in sound for Esquerita, capturing a session that's clearly loose and free. Esquerita's manic organ and piano chases his spirited vocals, with only a drummer in evidence. Despite (or because of) the two-man lineup, the playing is fearless. Both takes of the title track (based on Nina Simone's version) are tours de force; together they're nine minutes of a jam that sounds like a full band tripping on free jazz, be-bop, and early rock 'n' roll with the same force Esquerita brought to '50s rock 'n' roll on his Capitol Records releases. This minimalist approach leaves room for the drummer and Esquerita to each play around. "Leave Me Alone" (in two takes), "Letter Full of Tears," "On Broadway," and "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" have never sounded more alive. The only drawback is that there isn't more material than these 10 tracks. 

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