Opting for a different line-up then utilized on his past SteepleChase efforts, Raney chooses to work in the organ combo format for The Backbeat. In the label’s entire catalog, this marks only the third time a B-3 would be on hand and the second appearance by De Francesco, the other two occasions both being Dave Stryker projects. It proves to be a winning combination, with Raney’s melodic warmth complimented nicely by Joey’s bop histrionics.
As I listen to the relaxed lilt of “Jimmy James” (an original by Doug written for his late dad and his young son) the idea of this perfect combination becomes even more apparent. DeFrancesco keeps the bass plump and full each time the four-chord vamp comes around and even with all his technical ability, Raney takes his time and unfold his own story with patience. Hart is a model of heartening support throughout. He also creates great interest through his imaginative use of cymbal timbres. Other winners are Horace Silver’s title track and Herbie Hancock’s “Driftin’”. But then again, everything here comes out fitting as comfortably as a favorite old flannel shirt.
Track Listing: Love For Sale, Jimmy James, Prelude To a Kiss, The Backbeat, Purple Eyes, Lee, Driftin
Personnel: Doug Raney- guitar, Joey DeFrancesco- organ, Billy Hart- drums
Record Label: SteepleChase Records
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