Things Have Got To Change

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ARCHIE SHEPP - Things Have Got To Change cover
3.50 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1971

Filed under Avant-Garde Jazz


A1 Money Blues (Part One) 5:51
A2 Money Blues (Part Two) 5:45
A3 Money Blues (Part Three) 6:37
B1 Dr. King, The Peaceful Warrior 2:29
B2 Things Have Got To Change (Part One) 8:15
B3 Things Have Got To Change (Part Two) 7:57


Electric Piano – Cal Massey (B1)
Cello – Calo Scott (B2,B3)
Violin – Leroy Jenkins (B2,B3)
Backing Vocals – Anita Branham (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Anita Shepp (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Barbara Parsons (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Claudette Brown (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Ernestina Parsons (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Jody Shayne (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Johnny Shepp (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Sharon Shepp (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Bass – Roland Wilson (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Drums – Beaver Harris (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Electric Piano – Dave Burrell (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Guitar – Billy Butler (tracks: A1 to A3), David Spinozza (tracks: A1 to A3)
Percussion – Calo Scott (tracks: A1 to A3), Hetty 'Bunchy' Fox (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Juma Sutan (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Ollie Anderson (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Saxophone [Alto], Flute [Piccolo] – James Spaulding (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Saxophone [Baritone] – Howard Johnson (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Saxophone [Tenor, Soprano] – Archie Shepp
Trombone – Charles Greenlee (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Grechan Moncur III (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Trumpet – Roy Burrowes (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3), Ted Daniel (tracks: A1 to A3, B2, B3)
Vocals – Joe Lee Wilson (tracks: A1 to A3)

About this release

Impulse! ‎– AS-9212 (US)

Recorded May 17, 1971 at Van Gelder Recordings, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Thanks to JS for the addition and snobb for the updates

ARCHIE SHEPP MP3, Free Download/Stream

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Specialists/collaborators reviews

The so called ‘late 60’s’ didn't really end until about 1972, and this album is further proof of that. Recorded in 1971, ‘Things have got to Change’ is about as late 60’s as you can get with its themes of revolution and black power. It might be easy for some to write this off as some sort of period kitsch, but look past its 60s stereotypical trappings and give it a hard listen and you will find some real genius at work here. ‘Money Blues’ and ‘Things have got to Change’ are both side long ‘jams’ that have very spare riffs, rhythms and chants to work with, yet both manage to maintain interest over fifteen plus minutes. The odd track out is side two opener, ‘Dr King, the Peaceful Warrior’, which is a quiet abstract two and a half minute ballad that features Archie’s tenor with Cal Massey’s electric piano.

‘Money Blues’ opens side one with a simple vocal chant that runs the length of the side while different soloists come and go and the horn section improvises simple head arrangements in a style similar to the earliest days of jazz. The beat is simple, just steady quarter notes on the tympani while the soloists swing the rhythm in natural bluesy riffs that creates a sound similar to an ancient African procession. Lead singer Joe Lee Wilson demands his share of the money in constantly improvised vocal lines in a classically rich baritone that gives the music a theatrical effect. Wilson has that sort of voice that old movie producers would cast as a sage or biblical prophet. His voice works well on this piece as his lines rise above the cacophony of the horns adding to the whole old school religious movie/theatre effect. Its really no easy feat that all the performers can keep things interesting with such bare material, but this is certainly a very talented and intuitive bunch.

After the opening ballad, side two launches into another long improv called ‘Things have got to Change’. ‘Things’ opens with some excellent electronic sounds that fade as the percussion and horns play a loping African theme in semi-chaotic style. This is not a lot different from pieces we have heard before by Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders. As the soloists go off and the horns and electronics build, the vocals return with another chant that comes and goes over the duration of the piece. The very non-cliché electronic colors by Romulus Franceschini and Donald F. Cooper add a lot to this side. In a typical old school psychedelic audio trick, the grooves at the end of side two do not eject the needle but leave it locked into a loop of electronic sounds that I listened to for about two minutes before I realized that the side had actually finished playing so to speak.

I think a lot of people would find this music to be too anachronistic and excessive, but suspend your cynicism about 60s revolutionary ideals and you will hear a very talented group of musicians who are able to do quite a lot with very limited material.

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