Week 47: Elusive Eddie
Welcome to Week 47, friends!
This week we’re paying homage to one of my favourite guitarist’s of all time – the late Eddie Fisher, who sadly passed away in 2007, just 64 years old…way too soon!
I first bumped into Eddie and his music over 20 years ago, when a club DJ filled my head with the mildly psychedelic and über-funky “Jeremiah Pucket” off his milestone 1971 album “Eddie Fisher & The Next One Hundred Years” on Cadet – and I was hooked…like hook-line-and-sinker hooked! His homegrown, wild, all over the place kinda style simply struck a chord with me – in a deep, profound kind of way. Never predictable, always interesting – like a Hendrix-influenced Wes Montgomery on an early George Clinton tip, using his guitar and stylings for some intricate yet 100% funky story telling. Just listen to this snippet of “Jeremiah Pucket”:
It took me almost a year to get my hands on a copy of the album, and to this day it is still a moment in my life I rank up there close to getting married and becoming a dad for the first time (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit, but you’re catching my drift, right?!). Another two years went by before I secured a copy of his album debut, the more straight forward jazz set “The Third Cup” from 1969…maybe not as groundbreaking as “The Next One Hundred Years”, but still a damn solid LP. Listen to this short clip of the track “Two By Two”:
It took me almost another 5 years to find his super-elusive third LP, “Hot Lunch”, released on All Platinum in 1977 – which showed off an even funkier side of Eddie’s musical vision…as an example, have a taste of “Thump & Bump”:
But after that Eddie vanished – to me at least. I asked around, but apparently that was it regarding the musical career of Eddie Fisher. It wasn’t until much later (and thanks to the Internet) that I learned that Eddie hadn’t called it quits, he had just given up on the major labels. At the end of the 70’s he had started his own private label, Nentu Records, on which he released two more albums – one simply called “Fisher”, released as early as 1976 (making the “Hot Lunch” LP his fourth rather than 3rd album, right), and another, “The Promise”, released in 1985. Back then, they were both so rare and hard to find that I was sure I would never be able to buy, or even hear, any of them. I thought I had heard the last of Eddie Fisher. End of story (almost at least).
Every now and then I tried my luck doing a random search, in both the vinyl stores and on the net, for anything related to Eddie. Then suddenly, in 2001, Eddie released a batch of brand new music – the CD “42nd Street”. Check out the album here, and story on the release party (including a great interview with Eddie) in East St. Louis News right here!
And in 2004, I learned that Eddie had been inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall Of Fame. But no news whatsoever on those early Nentu LP’s. It wasn’t until last week, when I asked Paros if he didn’t have anything out of the ordinary up his sleeve, to suitably help me out during the last busy week of the ongoing 4BB/Damn! Remix Competition…and he just answered “Sure thing!”…so the next morning when I checked my e-mail, I almost fell off my chair when I realized what he had just sent me: a pristine rip of Eddie Fisher’s 1985 LP “The Promise”!
At first I didn’t know what to think…maybe not the greatest album ever (not even close), but even though it all sounds more like a handful of demo’s than a “real” album, the lasting impression after like five end-to-end listens is DAMN! Sure, there’s some not-all-that-original smooth grooves…but it’s the raw, true and uncut funk that really gets to me! Just imagine what a great producer (like GAP Band producer Lonnie Simmons) could have distilled outta this. Have a look at this preview snippet of “The Jam” (reminiscent of George Duke’s “Games” on “Master Of The Game”), and you’ll understand what I’m getting at:
But the best part is really that I’m now really, really close to getting some well-deserved closure…I’m just missing that 1976 LP “Fisher” – and tonite, I put a bid on a reasonably priced copy of the original vinyl in an online auction (and no, I’m not giving you a link to the auction…this one is mine! :¬D)
For a thorough bio on Edward Fisher, go read his obit (by Bernie Hayes) published in The St. Louis American, available here! Enough said!
Go buy Eddie’s remastered CD-reissues of “The Third Cup” and “The Next One Hundred Years” right here – and remember to keep an eye open for all of his original LPs on your next crate digging expedition!
Mad props to Paros for this treat, but first and foremost; Eddie Fisher – thank you for the music!
(Ps. Go listen to Jeremiah Pucket on Youtube – uploaded by Eddie’s son Steven…don’t miss out on his personal comments in the video clip info! And yeah, don’t forget – tomorrow we’ll finally crown the Champion in the 4BB/Damn! Remix Competition…the suspense is really killing me!)