Sunday, July 31, 2011
Larry Coryell - Lady Coryell (Vanguard - VSD 6509)
Larry Coryell is a talented guitarist with a background in various music genres and various drugs. However, due to his talent and openness to different genres, he is quite a guitarist whom you don't know what he'll deliver. With his talent, it mainly delivers nice surprises.
Lady Coryell is the first album of Larry Coryell as a band leader. Actually it is rather an interesting album based on several issues. The first one is, the album is more like a collective of Larry Coryell's works in the sense that the tracks go between Blues Rock, Southern Rock, Improvisation, Blues and Jazz. Either he didn't have his mind set on a particular style or he just let it go. Another option is that he was 25 years old when this album was released and he really didn't have a clear cut idea about where he was heading. Therefore he just made up a general idea about who he is.
Even though the album itself is directionless, his guitar playing is certainly the opposite. He is a goddamn versatile guitar player who plays hell of a good guitar. I was stunned starting with "Sunday Telephone" and the similarity of Stephan Malkmus from the beginning of the track. I mentioned Malkmus due to the logistical fact that I like him a lot. From then on, we venture into Southern Rock with quite the weakiest link in the album, "Love Child Is Coming Home". Another is the Blues gone bad "Cleo's Mood" where his improvisation didn't do the best for the track. The alternative take of the track (Which is not on the vinyl) is better to be honest. On the other hand, the Jazz part of the album is supported by two important names from the John Coltrane Quartet, Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones.
Apart from the musical beauty of the album, there is an unfortunate fact that Larry Coryell tried to sing on 3 tracks on the A side which made life a little frustrating. He has a untaimed voice that may not be best for singing. He could have done a much better job by sticking similar to the B side where it is all instrumental.
This album is tempting in the sense that it captures the first steps of the virtuoso guitarist as well as his first album. It withholds a couple of thrilling solos which clearly shows why he has partnered later on with the household names John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia. You don't get teamed up with those guys and create something ordinary. He may have been later replaced by Al Di Meola due to his drug addiction, but hey, who does not have weakness after all.