Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Good Times Machine

Continuing our theme of diving into the secret (read: shameful) vault of specious 1970s jazz albums that might -- just might! -- actually be worthwhile, I bring you O'Donel Levy. Yes, that's him in the tux. His album Windows from 1976 is so underrated, AllMusic doesn't even bother to review it, just slapping two-and-a-half stars on the sucker and calling it a day. That might be smart. But I bought this sealed in plastic and brand new in a junk shop in Brooklyn based entirely on the album cover, which features Levy jamming on his Gibson hollow-body electric while maxing and relaxing in his pimped-out Chevy, lovingly dubbed (and stenciled) "Good Times Machine." The music? Funky. Jazzy. Funky and jazzy. Fusion! Listen, there's some geniunely groovy guitar work on the opener, "Panama Red," especially when he applies echo effect to add psyche flavor to his noodlings. I also love that he decides to end the song on a big, fat synth fart that can only be interpreted in stankonian semiotics as "da funk." As with Mr. Poncho's offering in the last post, I can't entirely stand by this -- especially not the theme song for his van, which I include here as a cautionary warning against diving too deep -- but "Panama Red" isn't a bad little tune for, say, sweeping out your garage or something. The whole thing comes off as a cross between "Suicide is Painless," "Copacabana," and "clean-up in aisle five." But in a kinda-sorta okay way!

"Panama Red" - O'Donel Levy

"Green Machine" - O'Donel Levy

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