Saturday, May 15, 2010

James Blood Ulmer - Black Rock (1982)

OK, I'll admit it: I'm putting this up as click-bait for this blog. Since a few people seem to have downloaded Free Lancing, here's its follow up, Black Rock.
Listening to this again, I'm prepared to re-evaluate whether this or Free Lancing is my favourite Blood album. The basic group for this album has expanded from Free Lancing's power trio to feature Ronnie Drayton's second guitar more prominently on most tracks, and Cornell Rochester is featured as a second drummer on tracks 1, 3, 5, 6 and 7. There's a bit of a harder edge to the instrumental tracks on this one, and Irene Datcher returns as a vocalist on 'Family Affair' and 'Love Have two Faces.' Sam Sanders (of whom I know nothing) plays tenor sax on 'Moon Beam' and alto on 'Overnight.' The last two tracks are the power trio again, with Amin Ali on lead vocals on 'Fun House.' There's an uncredited saxophone on 'We Bop,' which I assume is Sanders again.
For some reason (presumably a religious one), Blood had taken to calling himself Damu Mustafa Abdul Musawwir on the song credits on this one. He can call himself anything he likes as far as I'm concerned, just as long as he makes records as great as this one.

Turns out this one came out on CD in Japan some years back, and it changes hands for a pretty penny, although the LP is relatively easy to find. It doesn't seem to be available for download, unlike Odyssey. I don't know why someone like Wounded Bird hasn't licensed these albums from Sony if Sony doesn't want to reissue them. Maybe the master tapes have gone missing or maybe Sony just wants too much money (or maybe it just hasn't occurred to anyone). Either way, it's a pity that these great records are out of print.
I have rather a lot of Blood's albums. If anyone has a request, kindly leave it in a comment and I'll try and put it up here (as long as it's out of print).

A1: Open House (5:21)
A2: Black Rock (3:23)
A3: Moon Beam (5:12)
A4: Family Affair (7:26)*
B1: More Blood (4:46)
B2: Love Have Two Faces (5:29)
B3: Overnight (3:27)
B4: Fun House (4:54)
B5: We Bop (2:57)

Columbia Records, 1982. Cat # ARC 38285

Buy it here

*in case anyone was wondering, 'Family Affair' is not a cover of the Sly Stone song.


  1. Sorry about this, but I have pulled the links. These two items are for sale at Downtown Music Gallery, and I have no desire to pick the great James Blood's pocket. I will post some more rare Blood shortly.

  2. Hello Dustin, thank you for the JBU rips. I tried to figure out where I can buy pulled ones following your link but I find only CD-Rs (!?). Not a dime of that business goes to JBU, I think. Could you be so kind and re-upload Free Lancing (I own it, but don't know how to rip vinyl) and especially Black Rock (I've been looking for an used copy for some time...), vinyl rips are great stuff to listen to while commuting to work. Thanks, d. (d.zelig(at)