Week 13: Rapture
First of all, sorry about our absence and the lack of updates – we’ve all been kept busy elsewhere…way too busy. But we’re back – and with us we bring both good news and good music! Because this week we are real proud to present you all with an exclusive promo sampler for what may well be the best album you’ll buy this year!
But don’t thank us – this is all coming together thanks to our new acquaintance Dan, who runs one of the finest little reissue labels out there, Family Groove Records! We got to know about Dan and his label through our good friend Calisoulbrother, who recommended us to check out a limited edition 7″ vinyl reissue of Lillian Alexander’s “A Dream Without You”. Which instantly had me wanting to know more about both Lillian and the Family Groove catalogue. So I sent an e-mail with some questions – and Dan responded within minutes! In his response he enclosed a track that blew me away…which basically is what Week 13 will be all about!
It’s gonna be all about The HE3 Project, the album “Chapter 1″ (released today, March 30th) and the totally slept-on keyboard wizard/song writer/arranger/Bay Area session musician, Herman Eberitzsch III – who Dan bumped into by chance while doing research for the Lillian Alexander reissue project. I asked Dan about their first encounter – this is what he told me:
I called Herman and asked if he had any photos from the Lillian Alexander recording session, but he barely remembered the session and had no photos available. However, he said ‘I’ve got some tapes you may be interested in.’ I answered ‘what kind of music’ and he said ‘soul & funk.’ I had already planned a trip to San Francisco to work on the Alexander project. So it worked out perfectly. Still, I was a little skeptical until I entered Herman’s basement which he had set up like a private studio. It was like time had stood still in there. Dark, moody, with concert posters on the walls – and he opens up a locker and shows me tapes upon tapes. He played me some of his music, including “Rapture Of The Deep” and I couldn’t believe what I heard. All of this incredible music that had never been released…
Dan also confirmed my guess, that he almost crapped his pants first time he heard Herman’s music. Well, the first time I heard it, I almost did too. It’s just that good!
Still, you just might have heard a Herman Eberitzsch III joint or two unknowingly – at least one penned by him. The batch of songs remastered for release on this first (yes, three more installments are in the works) HE3 Project LP, simply called “Chapter 1″, includes three songs recorded as demos intended for Coke Escovedo’s 1975 debut album “Coke”. “Make It Sweet”, “Life Is A Tortured Love Affair” and “Easy Come Easy Go” made it onto the album (as did a fourth cut called “Rebirth”), and Lord knows I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all three – but after hearing Herman’s versions, none of Coke’s takes stand a chance in comparison! The difference is close to mindblowing – the crisp freshness of the “demos” is overwhelming and win every time.
Check out this short clip featuring both Coke’s and Herman’s versions of “Make It Sweet” – and prepare to be blown away:
Sure, both versions are good, but one is better than good – more like awesome…right?!
And it doesn’t stop at the Coke collab – Herman has worked with Lee Oskar (War), Greg Errico (Sly & The Family Stone), Little Esther Phillips and Linda Tillery, just to mention a few.
In my opinion, the “Chapter 1″ LP is just chock-full of never heard before greatness, including instant favourites like “Rapture Of The Deep”, “Funk Punk, “Easy Come Easy Go” and “In A Soft And Subtle Way” – from spacey jazz and psych, to raw funk and smooth soul music. Definitely the best “rare” funk/soul album so far this year…can’t wait for the second installment! Hopefully, with these HE3 Project releases (and our support) Herman finally gets the recognition deserved!
All in all, “Rapture” really is the spot on headline for this HE3 Project post…with rapture being best defined as An expression of ecstatic feeling or The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven – well, to me it means Ecstatic trip to crate-digger heaven!
Download the “HE3 Chapter 1 Promo Sampler” (including “Easy Come Easy Go”, “Make It Sweet” and “Rapture Of The Deep”) right here – or via this SoundCloud preview. Enjoy the goodness, peeps!
Now, do yourself a favour – buy HE3′s “Chapter 1″ already today! Available on vinyl, CD or as MP3′s over at Family Groove Records!
You won’t regret it! :¬)
And hey, if you’re in the Bay Area, why not book King Herman for a gig – I know would!
Mad props to Dan and Family Groove Records for their hard work digging up the good stuff! But first and foremost, Herman Eberitzsch III – thank you for the music!