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CD Review



The Gentle Rain- Moody
Sunbeam Records
          Thanks to the fine folks at Sunbeam Records, one of the most sought after records of the mid-'70's has finally been reissued. A coveted collector's item for many years, fans of this albums' mixture of sunshine pop and lite, breezy R&B will no doubt rejoice at the chance of finally being able to own a copy without having to pay the exhorbitant sums original copies of the album have been fetching on Ebay for many years.
           A project conceived and arranged by the legendary Nick Ingman (who has worked with such luminaries as Radiohead, David Bowie, Bjork, Oasis and a plethora of others) and aided and abetted by Brit musicians Kenny Wheeler, Alan Hawkshaw and Brain Bennett, this CD has been one of the coolest and most fertile sources of beats and basslines for samples since hip-hop began. Though a classic of British psyche pop and rare groove, the album has its' genesis in America, particulary the time Ingman had spent studying at the Berlee College of Music in the late '60's. Impressed by the school's vibe and the acumen of his fellow students who constantly seemed to be playing music and bringing musical projects to fruition at a dizzying rate, Ingman immersed himself in jazz music as much as he had immersed himself in pop music when he was still in his native Britain.
           By the time Ingman returned to England a few years later, he was equally adept at the subtleties of jazz and the broad brushstrokes of pop music. Ingman hooked up with one of the biggest A&R men in Britain and scored his first big-time music business jobs working for mainstream acts such as Cliff Richard, The Shadows and Olivia Newton-John. Though it wasn't where his musical heart was, these jobs gave Ingman a foothold in the business and gave him practical experience in arranging and orchestration which eventually allowed him to do some albums of his own. The first was an album co-produced with Tim Rice (yes, that Tim Rice) entitled Soul Cure which was credited to the fictional group Power Pack which blended big band music and funk. The next was a lush orchestral album called The Love Album under Ingman's own name.
           Moody, Ingman's third album as a leader, was conceived as more of a fusion project but didn't really turn out that way as can be evidenced by the end result. While it is a fusion of jazz and pop music, what people now refer to as 'jazz fusion' was a more bastardized version of rock and jazz that launched a thousand careers in the early to mid '70's and created a lot of boring elevator music in the process. There is not much related to that kind of hackneyed mess on this album. Given two whole days to record the project, Ingman and his hand-picked band of studio vets dove in a created a masterpiece totally at odds with what was going on in pop music at the time. With melodies mostly carried by flute and woodwind instruments, the albums sounds different from anything else yet sounds so completely "'70's" at the same time. As is typical for the jerkwads at the majors, Polydor (the label for whom the project was recorded) didn't want one of their head arrangers to have his name on a perceived low-selling album and created a fake band name to use. Polydor ended up just throwing the album out into the marketplace with no promotion and didn't even service the album to reviewers. Still, over the years the album has taken on a life of its' own and has become a holy grail of sorts for beatheads. It's easy to see why as the music here is sublime with excellent readings of hits like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Fool On The Hill" and "I Fell The Earth Move". A true find for those interested mind-blowing music!
           Fans of summery pop, B-3 organ groove jazz, and funky lite R&B of the late '60's and early '70's will love this CD for its' deep grooves and stellar arrangements of popular hits. Though the music has a definite soul flavor, the album should go down easily both at a party and even on a Sunday morning when some sunshine uptempo pop is needed to wash away the previous night's indiscretions. A must-have disc!  - Scott Homewood



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