With song titles like "Don't Hate, Congratulate," "(Smells Like) Dad's Drunk Again" and "Criminals Have A Name For It," you almost wish Super Heavy Organ wasn't an instrumental album. After all, the cover image of Hammond man Robert Walter squashed by a fallen B3 indicates that this six-man ensemble possesses a keen sense of humor and could have done wonders with lyrics. But never fear, these guys also possess a robust talent for progressive-influenced, groove-laden soul-jazz improvisation. Super Heavy Organ isn't as intense as Niacin's latest Hammond-fueled album, Organik, but it's no less captivating.
Recorded in New Orleans before the floods, Super Heavy Organ opens with "Adelita," which boasts frantic tenor sax interplay from Tim Green. (Green later blows his brains out on the rousing "Big Dummy.") "Spell" percolates with a dark, classic-Santana undercurrent, courtesy of ominous percussion, strange voices and understated organ, and as things turn out, the songs with fun titles don't need words. "Don't Hate, Congratulate" is a quirky, bouncy number that showcases Walter's keyboard prowess and emerges as an album highlight, "(Smells Like) Dad's Drunk Again" grooves with subtle funk and "Criminals Have A Name For It" unfurls into freeform fusion. Most of these dozen tracks don't overstay their welcome, with only three of them pushing past the six-minute mark. In fact, some of the best songs ("Spell," "Don't Hate, Congratulate" and "Poor Tom") are unexpectedly brief.
Magnatude, an offshoot of Magna Carta, is quietly releasing some fine fusion, jamband and world-music records. Super Heavy Organ is a strong addition to that catalog.
2) Kickin' Up the Dust
4) El Cuervo
5) Criminals Have A Name For It
6) 34 Small
7) Don't Hate, Congratulate
8) Poor Tom
9) (Smells Like) Dad's Drunk Again
10) Big Dummy