The Crusaders – The 2nd Crusade (1973)

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by Pico

This selection goes back a ways with me; I’ve saved only a handful of vinyls from my once somewhat-vast collection and this vintage ABC-Blue Thumb double LP was spared from that dreaded garage sale.

It’s also one of the few expensive import CD’s I was begrudgingly willing to ante up for (note the Japanese script on the left side of the CD front cover), since domestically, MCA Records, owner of the ABC masters, didn’t think enough of the record to release it stateside. But the $25 I had to fork over for this was quickly forgotten as soon as I heard those familiar sounds digitally for the first time.

Being able to blast it in the Pico Piddler made it all the mo’ bettah.

I happened to notice a couple of weeks ago that this record was finally getting released on CD domestically. That means you too can experience some vintage, adventurous funk-jazz, but at an affordable price. To make it fit on one CD, they had to fade out the closing Do You Remember When? early so you miss out on the unexpected jolting stop that ends the tune, but hey, it’s the price you pay. Trust me, you could live with that.

The rekindled interest of the funk-jazz of 25-30 years ago has cast a spotlight squarely on one of its best performers: the classic Wayne Henderson/Larry Carlton configuration of the Crusaders. The Second Crusade is perhaps their finest because at this point their songwriting was strong enough to dispense with the pop covers that was a feature of earlier albums and the weren’t yet too far removed from jazz that they traded in their chops for radio play.

A Search For Soul is one of the earliest indications of Joe Sample’s composing prowess, while Tomorrow Where Are You manages to pull off a compelling one-chord groove. Don’t Let It Get You Down is the vintage Gulf Coast R&B these Houston boys were best at. This import is a hard record to find, but 1974’s Southern Comfort and 1976’s Those Southern Knights make fine substitutes.


       

There’s more Crusaders records to recommend. But for another day…

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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