Donald Byrd – Street Lady (1973) [Reissue 2020]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 45:13 minutes | Front/Rear Covers | 2,02 GB
or DSD64 2.0 Stereo (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front/Rear Covers | 1,67 GB
or FLAC 2.0 (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/96 kHz | 42:22 m | F/R Covers | 955 MB
Features Stereo and Quadrophonic Surround Sound | Vocalion # CDSML 8576
A landmark album by Donald Byrd – the first one where he really started to click with jazz-funk producer Larry Mizell! Mizell and Byrd had worked together previously on the Black Byrd album – a soaring bit of futuristic jazz funk that took Byrd’s career to a whole new level – but this album’s the one where they really began to make the formula cook, blending together tight funky rhythms, spacey keyboards, soulful vocals, and some of Donald’s best solo work of the 70s! The whole thing’s a masterpiece, and all tracks sparkle – including “Lansana’s Priestess”, “Witch Hunt”, and “Street Lady”, one of the funkiest tracks ever on Blue Note. A haunting record with a beautiful spacey groove, and one of the best-ever albums on Blue Note!
Not so much a fusion album as an attempt at mainstream soul and R&B, Street Lady plays like the soundtrack to a forgotten blaxploitation film. Producer/arranger/composer Larry Mizell conceived Street Lady as a concept album to a spirited, independent prostitute, and while the hooker with a heart of gold concept is a little trite, the music uncannily evokes an urban landscape circa the early ’70s. Borrowing heavily from Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, and Sly Stone, Donald Byrd and Mizell have created an album that is overflowing with wah-wah guitars, stuttering electric pianos, percolating percussion, soaring flutes, and charmingly anemic, tuneless vocals. It’s certainly not jazz, or even fusion, but it isn’t really funk or R&B, either – the rhythms aren’t elastic enough, and all of the six songs are simply jazzy vamps without clear hooks. But the appeal of Street Lady is how its polished neo-funk and pseudo-fusion sound uncannily like a jive movie or television soundtrack from the early ’70s – you can picture the Street Lady, decked out in polyester, cruising the streets surrounded by pimps with wide-brimmed hats and platform shoes. And while that may not be ideal for jazz purists, it’s perfect for kitsch and funk fanatics.
01. Lansana’s Priestess
02. Miss Kane
03. Sister Love
04. Street Lady
05. Witch Hunt
06. Woman of the World
Donald Byrd – trumpet
Roger Glenn – flute
Jerry Peters – piano, electric piano
Fonce Mizell – clavinet, trumpet, vocals
Fred Perren – synthesizer, vocals
David T. Walker – guitar
Chuck Rainey – electric bass
Harvey Mason – drums
King Errisson – congas and bongos
Stephanie Spruill – percussion
Larry Mizell – vocals
Produced, Arranged & Conducted by Larry Mizell.
Recorded on June 13-15, 1973 at The Sound Factory, Hollywood.
Remastered from the Original Master tapes by Michael J. Dutton.