Fire Up+

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Eugene Chadbourne
This reissue set combines the two early Merl Saunders albums on Fantasy, Fire Up and Heavy Turbulence. The content of these original albums is almost there in its entirety and nothing new and previously unreleased is added to the stash. "Chock-Lite Puddin'" is the single missing pearl, representing quite a severe mistake in editing, as this was not a marble for playing with. A better tune to experience the fall of the axe would have been one of several covers with a faded '70s presence that is a bit like day-old cigarette smoke. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" could have been left out, please, that or "After Midnight," although the latter number was an FM ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Eugene Chadbourne
This reissue set combines the two early Merl Saunders albums on Fantasy, Fire Up and Heavy Turbulence. The content of these original albums is almost there in its entirety and nothing new and previously unreleased is added to the stash. "Chock-Lite Puddin'" is the single missing pearl, representing quite a severe mistake in editing, as this was not a marble for playing with. A better tune to experience the fall of the axe would have been one of several covers with a faded '70s presence that is a bit like day-old cigarette smoke. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" could have been left out, please, that or "After Midnight," although the latter number was an FM airplay hit at the time of its initial release. To be fair, the vocal work of Saunders on the former number is actually formidable, as are his interesting organ variations on the theme. Listeners may associate the collective jams of Saunders in various ensembles with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia as friendly but loose-knit music created casually, the tempo sometimes the most casual aspect of all. Yet these early albums were much more like a real band than the efforts of some ensembles who actually call themselves bands -- it is a lot tighter than a Grateful Dead record, for example. The players involved actually represented a coming together of musical forces that was every bit as significant as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In fact, the merging of the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival with a seasoned jazz and rhythm & blues organist had great musical implications that are fulfilled, from time to time, on the best moments of these sessions, such as the truly thrilling extended jam "Manchild." For Garcia, simply playing alongside a rhythm guitarist who could keep time must have been something of a revelation. Much of the time the players don't try to change the world while keeping the beat, settling into enjoyably funky music designed by Saunders and clearly expressing his gestalt: "My Problems Got Problems" is the opening complaint, "Soul Roach" the eventual cure. Garcia fans can be proud of their man here, as his playing is sharp and detailed, obviously inspired by the input from his keyboard buddy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/9/1992
  • Label: Fantasy
  • UPC: 025218771122
  • Catalog Number: 7711
  • Sales rank: 102,910

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Merl Saunders Primary Artist, Organ, Keyboards, Electric Piano, Vocals, Background Vocals, Clavinet, Track Performer, ARP
Tramaine Hawkins Background Vocals
Walter Hawkins Background Vocals
Jerry Garcia Guitar, Vocals
Chuck Rainey Guitar
Michael Howell Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Kenneth Nash Percussion
Tom Fogerty Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals
Gaylord Birch Conga
Edwin Hawkins Background Vocals
Hawkins Singers Background Vocals
John Kahn Bass, Bass Guitar, Electric Piano
Eddie Moore Drums, Saw
Chris Parker Drums
Bill Vitt Drums
Freddie Hawkins Background Vocals
Bill Kruetzman Drums
Lynette Hawkins-Stephens Background Vocals
Carole Hawkins Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Paul McCartney Composer
Robbie Robertson Composer
Tower of Power Contributor
Merl Saunders Composer
Tom Fogerty Producer
Phil DeLancie Remastering
Kenny Gamble Composer
Brian Gardner Engineer
Hawkins Singers Contributor
Leon Huff Composer
Bill Kreutzmann Contributor
Hugh Martin Composer
Doc Pomus Composer
Ray Shanklin Composer
Phil Carroll Art Direction
Tower of Power Horn Section Contributor
Ralph Blane Composer
Jerome Doc Pomus Composer
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