Normally for Smooth Jazz Sunday, I feature a single song and write a bit about it. Today I’m doing three songs, all from Earl Klugh from his album Crazy For You which was released back in 1981. I’m feeling a bit of nostalgia for the album, primarily because of a memory from my younger days, but also because it is difficult to hear the album in full because it is out of print. Difficult but not impossible, thanks to YouTube.
The memory centers around a visit from my older cousin from a couple weeks back. He and his daughter came down to visit, and along with my mom and stepfather, we went out to dinner. I drove to the restaurant and while riding to our destination, we listened to SiriusXM’s “Soul Town” station. The station generally plays classic soul and Motown tunes from the sixties to the mid-seventies. This brought on a discussion about my cousin’s record collection, and how he taught me how to handle his precious LP’s. One of those albums that I remember loving of his, and playing often was Earl Klugh’s Crazy For You.
Klugh has been called the greatest acoustic guitarist working today. I can’t vouch for whether or not it is true, but he is one of the great ones. Earlier this year, I featured him with George Benson on a song called “Dreamin’.” Klugh and Benson have an association that goes back to the early 70s when the former was a teenager. He worked on Benson’s White Rabbit album, and eventually toured with him for a time. Klugh has been a leader on his own sessions for over forty years now.
The three songs that I’ll be featuring today include “Calypso Getaway,” “Soft Stuff (And Other Sweet Delights)” and “Twinkle.” Given that temperatures here are in the mid-to-low thirties here, “Calypso Getaway” makes me think of lazy summer days, or a trip to a tropical island. “Soft Stuff” bumps up the tempo just a bit, and features some wonderful string backing supporting Klugh’s work on the guitar strings. Finally, “Twinkle” shows and proves that Klugh can lead his acoustic guitar on a funk adventure, which features the late Louis Johnson of the Brothers Johnson (“Strawberry Letter 23” among others) on bass, and a nice electric piano solo from session ace Greg Phillinganes.
I hope that you enjoy these Earl Klugh treasures that I remember so fondly from my younger days. As always, thanks for reading and listening.