George Duke I Love the Blues / She Heard My Cry
On the fourth album of his fusion cycle for the man from the Black Forest, George Duke substantially expanded the number of his colleagues. As before, drummer Leon "Ndugu" Chancler beats as the heart of the rhythm section, and the Brazilian couple, Airto and Flora are again on board. The ten tracks perform a stylistic balancing act. The jittery funk of "Chariot" and the smooth ballad "Someday" show off Duke's soulful vocal flair. Flora Purim crowns the complex "Look Into Her Eyes" with her spheric sound as she and guitarist George Johnson take care of business on this stratospheric piece with it's bluesy electric shuffle. With two high-voltage guitarists (Daryl Stuermer and Byron Miller), "That's What She Said" points to the tie between rock and funk. The most eye-opening outing occurs with star guitarist Lee Ritenour stomping on "Rokkinrowl, I Don't Know", and it's Hendrix parody. "Sister Sirene" shows that, naturally, the typical dreamy Duke instrumentals are not left off the album. An almost animistic soundscape is woven into the fabric of "Mashavu", and "Giant Child Within Us - Ego" is a small fusion suite encompassing the spectrum from the classical to the Zappaesque finale. The title piece is indeed a blues, dished out pure and simple - a far cry from the sounds of the preceeding piece with it's mountains of synthesizers. Rather, the sultry delta heat, the acoustic simplicity and raw truth of the song prevail - the blues.