A singer-songwriter can be anything from an unwelcome pub musical disaster to Bob Dylan. I have a negative disposition when I see an artist describe themselves as such as there is a great chance of being underwhelmed due to the liklihood is that the music is compiled simply of a man and a guitar…and the man could be anybody from an unwelcome pub musical disaster to Bob Dylan - and Bob Dylan has been done. If I do say so myself I am usually rather good at accurately comparing one musician or group with another, but Russell Joslin has left me stumped. This would mean that for one man and a guitar, he appears to have created a sound that hasn’t really been done before. It’s not a new genre and it’s not some abstract form of experimentation, it’s just what decent singer songwriter music should be, a man telling his story which if he’s telling it right is from a unique standpoint.
This disc is a bit unusual in a few ways. Vibraphonist Dave Pike sticks here exclusively to the marimba, while pianist Herbie Hancock is heard throughout on organ, an instrument he rarely played again. The band also includes two trumpeters (most notably Clark Terry who has a few short solos) and a rhythm section with guitarist Billy Butler. Most of the music consists of obscurities and is open to the influences of the boogaloo and pop rhythms of the era; highlights include Hancock's "Blind Man, Blind Man," "Sunny" and "Devilette." An interesting effort.