Houston, Texas, early '70's. Not the most likely place you'd expect to find fire spiritual and modal jazz, but Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen released four albums of astoundingly deep maverick jazz on par with some of choicest Tribe or Strata East releases.. Drummer, bandleader and activist Bubbha Thomas had toured America with various R&B revues and had been a session musician for some time before the political and social upheaval of the late 1960's pushed him on a path first charted by Coltrane. over the course of the decade, Bubbha contributed to a collective voice of resistance to the musical and cultural status quo that is just beginning to be understood. Collected here is the definitive collection of Thomas's four classic albums with his Lightmen band:
Free As You Wanna Be, the groups first release, predates the deep spiritual jazz of Tribe, Strata, and Black Jazz releases (peep the title track or "#109 Psychosomatic" for an idea) and was a harbinger of the best of the 1970's jazz underground. Presented in both stereo and previously unreleased mono mixes.
Fancy Pants, the second LP by the group is more meditative affair, similar to the groovier, later Sun Ra releases or some of Phil Cohran's records. The song "On The Road Home" has been a consistent repeat listen in the office, and one of the finer modal jazz compositions I've heard. Presented in both stereo and previously unissued, extended mono mixes.
Energy Control Center, the third LP, is considered the groups masterpiece and this version contains bonus tracks, unreleased alternate takes, and Thomas produced singles.
Country Fried Chicken, the groups final LP, is also their most accessible, a glorious mixture of spiritual jazz with funk breakdowns. Presented with alternate, synth-led mixes of songs from their first two LPs as well as unreleased disco and boogie tracks.
If you're looking to cop an original of any of these releases, current prices range from $500-$1,100, so this collective set is not to be missed. As only Egon and Now-Again can do, each album is remastered from the original tapes and is chock full of in depth liner notes and bonus alternate takes. 61 tracks in all, 8 LP's total housed in an envelope style sleeve. Includes booklet detailing the Lightmen's amazing story and trajectory, and each album includes a download card for wav files of songs, and video footage of live performances. DO NOT SLEEP. Released by Now-Again Records.
- 8 LP set housed in envelope style sleeve
- remastered from original tapes
- extensive booklet by Lance Scott Walker detailing Bubbha and this album's story
- download code included for wav files and footage of live performances
- music label: Now-Again 2018
reviewed by Ralphy Corduroy 2/2019
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