112

The Crusaders: Rural Renewal

Chris M. Slawecki By

Sign in to view read count
It’s been more than twenty years since founding members Joe Sample (keyboards), Stix Hooper (drums), and Wilton Felder (saxophones) recorded together as the Crusaders. Though much proverbial water has since flowed under their bridge, with Rural Renewal the Crusaders get back to where they once belonged, straight to the heart of their joyous juke joint roots.

The first two cuts feature Eric Clapton on first acoustic and then electric guitar. The acoustic track is mostly a non-event, but his electric blues guitar seems to rejoice in the freedom of Sample’s loose-limbed “Creepin’.” Easily his most ambitious new composition, “Heartland,” may also be a new Sample classic, throbbing with turbulent rhythmic undertow while Felder swims out of the blue groove into Wayne Shorter’s more sharp harmonic and rhythmic waters.

Most of the rest, such as Sample’s “Shotgun House Groove” and Hooper’s “Greasy Spoon,” are more groovy workouts than tight constructions, with Sample’s barrelhouse boogie-woogie in “Greasy Spoon” the instrumental rule rather than the exception; Felder brandishes a rough and ready approach here like a true “Texas Renor.” They glide through their grooves, bumped along by the horns’ melodic counterpoint. Unaccredited vibraphone makes this stroll through “Lazy Sundays” sound even jauntier.

Smooth, supple Stix Hooper may be the best drummer you’ll never notice; he and fatback bassist Freddie Washington set the table for every one of these greasy spoon grooves. Sometimes their portions seem a little smaller and a little less spicy than they used to be, but this Crusaders’ menu remains tasty and satisfying.


See From The Inside Out for related reviews.


Track Listing: 1. Rural Renewal 2. Creepin' 3. Heartland 4. A Healing Comin' On 5. Sing The Song 6. Shotgun House Groove 7. The Territory 8. Greasy Spoon 9. Viva De Funk 10. Lazy Sundays 11. Goin' Home

Personnel: Joe Sample (keyboards), Stix Hooper (drums), Wilton Felder (saxophones), Steve Baxter (trombone), Freddie Washington (bass), Donnie McClurkin and Sounds of Blackness (vocals), Eric Clapton (guitars).

Title: Rural Renewal | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: PRA Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Aqustico vol 2 CD/LP/Track Review Aqustico vol 2
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Beginnings CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Synchronic CD/LP/Track Review Synchronic
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Slægt CD/LP/Track Review Slægt
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 24, 2017
Read An Eye on the Future CD/LP/Track Review An Eye on the Future
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 24, 2017
Read "Heritage" CD/LP/Track Review Heritage
by James Nadal
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Fly Or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly Or Die
by John Sharpe
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Rock Pool Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Rock Pool Mirror
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: July 19, 2017
Read "No Favorites!" CD/LP/Track Review No Favorites!
by Troy Collins
Published: November 27, 2016
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Big Wheel Live" CD/LP/Track Review Big Wheel Live
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 17, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.