Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Little Axe - The Wolf That House Built

Technically this is an Epic release, but those in the know will see Adrian Sherwood listed as producer and Skip McDonald as sole performer and understand immediately: in all but name, this is an On-U Sound production. What does that mean? It means that groove will be primary, words secondary, and overall sound will be dark and thrilling; it means that weird samples will bubble up unpredictably from beneath churning funk and reggae rhythms; and it means that a certain degree of dubwise anarchy will infuse every note. What distinguishes this album from other On-U projects is the raw material: whereas an On-U Sound album generally builds on a reggae foundation, Skip McDonald's background is in the blues, and what he has put together here is a tribute to Howling Wolf. This is a roiling pastiche of samples taken from Wolf's singing and speaking, all of them thrown into a stew of funk and reggae beats and interspersed with McDonald's own multi-tracked vocals (which will sound very familiar to fans of Tackhead and Strange Parcels, both of which were founded by him). It's hard to identify highlights here, but some of the album's especially strong moments come during "Ride On," which samples Howling Wolf's discussions of life on the road, and the primarily instrumental "Out in the Rain and Cold." Exquisite. - by Rick Anderson, AMG 

Artist: Little Axe
Album: The Wolf That House Built
Year: 1994
Label: Wired
Runtime: 63:27

Tracks:
1.  Ride On (Fight On) (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 5:24
2.  The Time Has Come (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood / Doug Wimbish) 5:05
3.  Out in the Rain and Cold (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood / Doug Wimbish) 4:35
4.  Back to the Crossroads (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 6:37
5.  Never Turn Back, Pts. 1 & 2 (A. Lomax / Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 7:21
6.  Another Sinful Day (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 4:05
7.  Crossfire (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 4:29
8.  Wolf's Story (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 4:20
9.  Hear My Cry (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood / Doug Wimbish) 7:00
10.  Dayton (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 6:10
11.  Falling Down (Bernard Alexander) 4:26
12.  Wake the Town (Bernard Alexander / Adrian Sherwood) 3:55

Personnel:
Bernard Alexander (aka Little Axe, Skip McDonald) (Guitar, Vocals, Keyboard, Bass and Programming)
Doug Wimbish (Bass Guitar)
Keith Leblanc (Drums)
Talvin Singh (Tablas and Percussion)
Kevin Gibbs (Vocals)
Saz Bell (Vocals)

2 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic album! Blues for the 21st century. It turned my on to Little Axe and it is still my favourite in their discography.

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