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Blue Thumb Collection
     

The Blue Thumb Collection

by Sylvester & the Hot Band
 
Naturally, Sylvester is best known for the disco anthem "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," an epoch defining hit that has transcended its time. That song is absent on Hip-O Select's 2009 set The Blue Thumb Collection, a single disc that combines Sylvester & the Hot Band's two albums for Blue Thumb, Sylvester & the Hot Band (sometimes known as Scratch

Overview

Naturally, Sylvester is best known for the disco anthem "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)," an epoch defining hit that has transcended its time. That song is absent on Hip-O Select's 2009 set The Blue Thumb Collection, a single disc that combines Sylvester & the Hot Band's two albums for Blue Thumb, Sylvester & the Hot Band (sometimes known as Scratch My Flower) and Bazaar, both released in 1973, adding two cuts from Lights Out, San Francisco, and resulting in a complete overview of his recordings for the label. These recordings are hard to peg: they certainly come from a specific time and place, an outgrowth of San Francisco's early-'70s hotbed of gay culture, and there's no question that the cross-dressing Sylvester was out at a time when it was rare, but he blurred boundaries in other ways, creating a funky cabaret act that stretched back to Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith while incorporating the Coasters, James Taylor, Procol Harum, and Neil Young. All were heard on Sylvester & the Hot Band/Scratch My Flower, a record that defied categorization so thoroughly it found no audience outside of the already converted and, decades later, it still sounds like a transmission from another dimension. There's an easy versatility to the Hot Band, who slide out of the straight-up, old-timey blues of "Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer)" to the steamy funk reinterpretation of "My Country Tis of Thee" without batting an eye, and Sylvester is equally flexible, singing with passion and power, nuance and grace, without ever leaving his falsetto. It's music that reads as camp but plays serious, which is why it's such a bracing listen: depending on mood, it can either sound like the best or worst thing ever, but in either case there's no denying the skill and purpose behind it. Bazaar is partially cut from the same cloth, containing the same genre-and-gender-bending, but it lacks the far-reaching historical scope of Sylvester's debut, sounding entirely of the now of 1973. Partially this is due to Hot band bassist Kerry Hatch serving as producer and songwriter, helping to push the record toward fuzzy, glamtastic guitars and modern funk, a move that may have been a necessary commercial consideration at the time. Despite all this stylish accoutrement, there's not really way to make Sylvester seem conventional: he commands and commandeers, twisting everything back toward the fantastic cabaret revue of his debut -- not enough to get it there, but enough to keep this from being anything but ordinary.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/04/2009
Label:
Hip-O Select
UPC:
0602527087986
catalogNumber:
001292102

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sylvester & the Hot Band   Primary Artist
Pointer Sisters   Vocals
Neal Schon   Guitar
Sylvester   Piano,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bobby Blood   Bass,Trumpet
Greg Errico   Drums
Travis Fullerton   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Kerry Hatch   Bass,Keyboards,Background Vocals
James Quill Smith   Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Background Vocals
Chris Mostert   Flute,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Peter Mintun   Piano
Warren Jr. Sams   Piano,Background Vocals
Warren C. Sams   Piano,Background Vocals
Travis Fullerton   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
James Q. Smith   Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Background Vocals
Bobby Blood   Bass,Trumpet

Technical Credits

Leonard Cohen   Composer
Ray Charles   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Sylvester   Arranger,Composer
James Taylor   Composer
Neil Young   Composer
Gary Brooker   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Billie Holiday   Composer
Chris Ethridge   Composer
Jim Gaines   Engineer,Remixing
John Haeny   Producer,Engineer,Remixing
Kerry Hatch   Composer
Arthur Herzog   Composer
Keith Reid   Composer
Ben Sidran   Producer,Engineer
James Quill Smith   Producer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Allen Toussaint   Composer
Sylvester & the Hot Band   Arranger
Brian Chin   Liner Notes,Artwork
Wesley Wilson   Composer
Vicki Hodgetts   Concept
Gene Brownell   Art Direction
Barry Feinstein   Concept
Public Domain   Composer
Ryan Null   Photo Coordination
Michele Horie   Art Direction
Mike Morello   Road Crew
William Peele Jr.   Composer
William Peele   Composer
Warren C. Sams   Composer
Voco   Producer
James Q. Smith   Composer,Producer
Graham Parsons   Composer
Sylvester James   Arranger

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