Sunday, March 8, 2009

Where the deer and the guitars play....

This post is a unique one in many ways. Offering another vinyl rip from a highly regarded jazz guitarist like Howard Roberts is no surprise, of course. But this one is actually taken from one of my old 8-track tapes, something I did a few years back when I was convinced it was the only way I could ever capture this unusual, fairly obscure recording. Going back and giving it a listen today I decided that the quality wasn't so bad and I don't see much chatter about this particular work anywhere else. The other odd aspect is the content itself. I have a lot of Howard Roberts albums, LP's, CD's, and oh yeah, the 8-track. But this recording strikes me as probably the oddest of them all, which might explain the lack of attention. I really like Howard Roberts' stuff with very little exception. For some reason I am especially taken with his pop cover material of the 60's, much of which seems to be the focus of media criticism more than praise, even though he is always acknowledged to be one of the most highly skilled guitarists of his era. I enjoy interpretations of likable and familiar tunes, pop diddies, when they are treated with subtle creativity and soulful skill as Roberts so often has done over his extensive career. Then there are the more straight ahead jazz outings where he covers more traditional creative jazz works and explores the outer stretches of that genre so impeccably. Here on "Antelope Freeway" however, Roberts really moved into something different. This sort of has a slight psychadelic edge to it with sound bites and other effects all mixed into this meandering tapestry of guitar snippets which are largely rooted in more of a rock/blues side of jazz for sure. When I first rescued this from some 88 cent bargain bin back in the 70's, I have to say I was disappointed that it wasn't more what I was used to in jazz guitar icons. But listening to it again today I have to say that it really is both daring and fairly effective. It's fun and it does contain some really clever, enjoyable music. Some of it borders on brilliant if you are open to this approach at all. But alas, it remains OOP. The track titles were difficult to apply to the recording from my original 8-track; you can't see the grooves to identify transition points and many of the cuts here simply bleed into one another. It makes for a nice overall composition and creative impression but it's hard to tell where one "song" finishes and the next one starts. As a result, I chose to simply record the whole album in two sections/tracks. Checking out references for this album I saw that many reports were similarly confused with name run-ons and differing numbers of tracks all together. Kind of funny. Basically, my first "track" includes the first five cuts from the album while my second "track" includes the last four album cuts. Be my guest if you want to try your luck at distinguishing the details, but in the end, I don't think it matters, either way, you should enjoy a listen. So go ahead and find out why those antelope are crowding the freeways to hear a guitar master having some fun....

Deer and the...

Howard Roberts - Antelope Freeway -1971
Impulse! AS-9207 (LP)

1. Antelope Freeway - Part 1
2. That's America Fer Ya
3. Dark Ominous Clouds
4. De Blooz
5. Sixteen Track Firemen

6. Ballad of Fazzio Needlepoint
7. Five Gallons of Astral Flash Could Keep You Awake For Thirteen Weeks
8. Santa Clara River Bottom
9. Roadwork

Howard Roberts - electric & acoustic guitars
Bobby Bruce - violin
Mike Deasy - electric guitar
Pete Robinson, Larry Knechtel, Mike Wofford - keyboards
Brian Garofalo, Max Bennett - Fender bass
Bob Morin, John Guerin - drums


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I enjoy it.

BTW, I learned about it through the recent book, The House that Trane Built, about Impulse! Records. There's a mini-feature on this album that's pretty funny.

Unknown said...

I purchased this album new after seeing Howard play at Donte's in North Hollywood...with Guerin on drums. I still have the vinyl, but I am forever on the lookout for a CD of Antelope Freeway. Love Howard, love the album, sorry Donte's closed

Durge & The Oldies said...

Thanks for the input on the House That Trane Built and the history on Donte's. I hope the quality of these 8-track versions is adequate, maybe Willy can provide a vinyl upgrade here? Either way, I appreciate the comments. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Mr ... you are a genius! HR is highly important for jazz guitar history. Many thanks for your small part.

Anonymous said...

Posted Roberts' other Impulse album, 'Equinox Express Elevator' on my blog and linked to your post.

Durge & The Oldies said...

Thanks PR! I got your post and can't wait to give it a listen.

Anonymous said...

This is so good, you sent me searching for a vinyl rip. Here it is at:
Ripped at 320kbps no less.
The direct download link is:

Thanks for a great turn-on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again! (I commented on your the Buddy Fite & Friends album today). H.R. is one of my fav guitarists. Attended one of his guitar workshops in the early '70's, which was great. And George Benson was in town and dropped in! The first H.R. track I ever heard was "Relaxin' at Camarillo" - his solo blew me away! - Felix

Durge & The Oldies said...

Wow, I'm jealous. But having this music to listen to isn't a bad alternative. I love Roberts' pop interpretations especially. The man could play, no doubt, but he had that extra special intuition with music, tunes just melt in his hands; pop, ballads, funk, rock, standards, you name it. What a joy to listen to. Wish I would have seen him perform. Thanks again for the comments!

. said...

This is a fantastic album! I used to have Equinox Express on vinyl, and I'd love to hear it again, but the above link is dead - does anybody have a rip of this?

LPR said...


just uploaded Equinox Express Elevator for a friend again:

Flac and scans from vinyl:

Durge & The Oldies said...

Beautiful, thanks for the share LPR!