Sunday, November 18, 2012

Robert Palmer Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley 1974

Robert Palmer's first effort is a fine debut. While not quite fully formed, the funky New Orleans-Caribbean blend that will carry him through the seventies is mostly here. His vocals are as assured as they will be ten years later.

He's helped a great deal by The Meters and Lowell George of Little Feat, who are featured on at least half the record, and are as funky as you wanna be. Two Allen Toussaint songs doesn't hurt either.

The main reason to return to the record over and over is the loose medley of Lowell George's Sailin' Shoes, Palmer's Hey Julia, and Allen Toussaint's Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley that opens Side one. These three have always been worth the price of admission. Great songs, great singing, great band. The groove that the Meters lay down is killer. They are one of the great rhythm sections.

Get Outside follows, and it's slow, simmering funk and Palmer's sweet soul vocal make it a winner. Blackmail foretells the rockier side of future 80s Palmer, and sounds like a good Bob Seger song.

Side two opens with How Much Fun, another Southern funk workout, this time with a hot female backing chorus. Then Palmer incinerates Toussaint's From A Whisper To A Scream with a fine vocal of steamy boudoir soul. Through It All There Is You has a great bass line, syncopated guitar, drums and organ, and digs a deep groove that can't quite sustain interest over it's 12 minutes. It's lyrically weak, and it meanders.

It's not quite the perfection that the follow-up, 1975's Pressure Drop will be, but it's one heck of a debut. More Robert Palmer here.

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