Hit tune, but . . .
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 09/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It looks to me as if Ray Bryant might have had an eye on the hit charts when he cut this album: some of the tunes, particularly the title track, have their clear-eyed jazz approach diminished somewhat by an intrusion of pop elements. SLOW FREIGHT is an attractive tune, but its simple blues theme is repetitive in nature, there's innocuous voice-over commentary by one Paul Serrano, and it all goes on for almost 10 minutes. (The song would go on to be a staple in Ray's repertory for years to come, and this marks its first recording.) The same might be said about IF YOU GO AWAY, also pop oriented, which seems to combine middle-eastern sounds with an almost Tex-Mex like brass part. (Art Farmer and Snooky Young, playing trumpet and flugelhorn, make up the brass section; Bryant uses them sparingly - sometimes not at all - and neither man ever solos . . . a waste of good talent). Everyone goes to church for the appropriately named AMEN, and THE FOX STALKER is a handsome tune with one of Ray's better solos on the album. THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON is a funky thing with a good bowed bass solo by Richard Davis. SATIN DOLL is rollicking all the way, with good solos by Bryant and Davis. Although the CD is pretty good, I can think of a number of other Ray Bryant releases that are better than this, especially from a straight-out jazz perspective."