Lightnin’ Rod – Hustler’s Convention (1973)

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Lightnin’ Rod – Hustlers Convention (1973)
Original release on United Artists (UA-LA156-F)
Reissued on Celluloid (1984) and Charly (1996)

1. Sport – Kool & the Gang, Lightnin’ Rod
2. Spoon
3. Café Black Rose
4. Brother Hominy Grit
5. Coppin’ Some Fronts for the Sets
6. Hamhock’s Hall Was Big (And There Was a Whole Lot to Dig!)
7. Bones Fly from Spoon’s Hand
8. Break Was So Loud, It Hushed the Crowd
9. Four Bitches Is What I Got
10. Grit’s Den
11. Shit Hits the Fan Again
12. Sentenced to the Chair
———————–

I’ve got some news // you dude’s could  use // that might help y’all get by // So I thought I’d nonchalantly mention // the hustler’s convention // taking place at the end of July

This is the masterful and influential record from Alafia Pudim (aka Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin) of the Last Poets, supported by a group of musicians who can best be described as ecumenically funky. In fact the sheer number of well-known heavy hitters who appear on what was by and large a pretty underground and radically uncommercial album is astounding: Pretty Purdie, King Curtis, Julius Hemphill, Cornell Dupree, Eric Gale, Chuck Rainey, and a percussion army featuring Candido, Bobby Matos, Johnny Pacheco, and Norman Pride. The record allegedly features an uncredited Tiny Turner and the Ikettes, presumably on the last track. And of course there is the young Kool & The Gang, who in 1973 had been around for a while but were only just about to break into the mainstream.

While the Last Poets are infamous for the radical politics and black nationalism, this record is the aural equivalent of a blaxploitation film focused on two friends on an all-night gambling spree punctuated by drug use and violence set in 1955. There’s even a car chase and a shoot-out with the cops. And like some of its blaxploitation film peers, the record could be construed as political metaphor by the time it ends, the real draw here is the word play and the outrageous groove. A press kit from the original LP (scans of which are included here, scavenged from the interwebs) elaborates the narrative a bit and provides background on the two main characters of Sport and Spoon. This promo material also maintains that Lightnin’ Rod had a book in the works for Viking Press – anybody know about this? Production was done by Alan Douglas who has long pedigree or interesting work (in addition to infamously tampering with some posthumous Hendrix material). Sandwiched between the funk jams are instrumental extracts of a few actual songs borrowed from Buddy Miles, Sly Stone (uncredited) and Traffic. The pressing linked here is the Celluloid one.

————–
A1 Sport

Backing Band – Kool & The Gang

A2 Spoon

Bass – Fred Backmeier
Keyboards – Neil Larsen
Saxophone [Tenor] – Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Guitar – Howard ‘Buzz’ Feiten*
Drums – Phillip Wilson
Congas – Rocky Dejon*
Saxophone [Alto] – Julius A Hemphill

A3 The Cafe Black Rose

Bass – Fred Backmeier
Keyboards – Neil Larsen
Saxophone [Tenor] – Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Guitar – Howard ‘Buzz’ Feiten*
Drums – Phillip Wilson
Congas – Rocky Dejon*
Saxophone [Alto] – Julius A Hemphill

A4 Brother Hominy Grit

Bass – Fred Backmeier
Keyboards – Neil Larsen
Saxophone [Tenor] – Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Guitar – Howard ‘Buzz’ Feiten*
Drums – Phillip Wilson
Congas – Rocky Dejon*
Saxophone [Alto] – Julius A Hemphill

A5 Coppin’ Some Fronts For The Set

Bass – Fred Backmeier
Keyboards – Neil Larsen
Saxophone [Tenor] – Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Guitar – Howard ‘Buzz’ Feiten*
Drums – Phillip Wilson
Congas – Rocky Dejon*
Saxophone [Alto] – Julius A Hemphill

A6 Hamhock’s Hall Was Big

Bass – Jerry Jemmott
Organ – Billy Preston
Saxophone [Baritone] – James Mitchell
Saxophone [Tenor] – Andrew Love, King Curtis, Lou Collins*
Guitar – Cornell Dupree
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Trombone – Jack Hale
Piano – Truman Thomas
Trumpet – Roger Hopps, Wayne Jackson
Congas – Pancho Morales

B1 The Bones Fly From Spoon’s Hand

Backing Band – Kool & The Gang

B2 The Breack Was So Loud, It Hushed The Crowd

Bass – Fred Backmeier
Keyboards – Neil Larsen
Saxophone [Tenor] – Brother Gene Dinwiddie
Guitar – Howard ‘Buzz’ Feiten*
Drums – Phillip Wilson
Congas – Rocky Dejon*
Saxophone [Alto] – Julius A Hemphill

B3 Four Bitches Is What I Got

Backing Band – Kool & The Gang

B4 Grit’s Den

Bass – Chuck Rainey
Timbales – Bobby Matos
Drums, Congas – George McCleery
Saxophone [Tenor] – Maurice Smith, Trevor Lawrence
Guitar – Eric Gale
Percussion – Gordon Powell
Drums – Jimmy Johnson (2)
Piano – Richard Tee
Trumpet – Charles Sullivan, Gerry Thomas, Wilbur ‘Dud’ Bascombe*
Congas – Candido, Johnny Pacheco, Norman Pride

B5 The Shit Hits The Fan Again

Effects – Tom Clack

B6 Sentenced To The Chair

Bass – Chuck Rainey
Timbales – Bobby Matos
Drums, Congas – George McCleery
Saxophone [Tenor] – Maurice Smith, Trevor Lawrence
Guitar – Eric Gale
Percussion – Gordon Powell
Drums – Jimmy Johnson (2)
Piano – Richard Tee
Trumpet – Charles Sullivan, Gerry Thomas, Wilbur ‘Dud’ Bascombe*
Congas – Candido, Johnny Pacheco, Norman Pride
—————–

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20 Comments

  1. Thanks, I think I better just go ahead and trust you on this one.

  2. Thanks, I better just go ahead and trust you on this one.

  3. Dude, i don't think the general public will grasp the monumental importance of this record. If it wasn't for this record and Gil Scott-Heron's catalogue we wouldn't have rap and MC's. Thank you. Alex S.

  4. Got some talent on this! Thanks!

  5. Wow, big thanks Flabbergast 🙂

  6. brilliant find, many thanks!

  7. MP3 link isn't available…

    Thanks anyway!

  8. I'll fix it. Mediafire kind of f****d me big time. Practically all my work over the last month needs to be fixed, possibly more. Either they changed a policy about passwords, or I am being targeted. It sucks.

    Give me some time and all will be resolved.

  9. Wooow! otro de disco que no me habia percatado de él y no se por que pero que vale la pena repasar debido al personal muy curioso que lo acompaña, sobre todo el maestro Julius Hemphill que mas que en el funk lo conozco por su free / avant-garde, en el cual es un genio indiscutible!
    Gracias de nuevo Flabber por estos discos poco conocidos para mi!

  10. still waiting to hear the album, only heard 2 cuts on youtube. what i've heard was ok but not up to the 70s radicalism.

  11. this sounds absolutely amazing! thanks for the chance to hear it…
    respect,
    d

  12. Hi,

    I would really love to hear this, could you repost.

    Thanks

  13. Hello ! Pleaaase, you got to do reactivate this link man ! I suck your d*** for this gift (it's a joke, and a way to post an SOS). I really hope you got the sense of humour, cause i know you got the sense of sharing…

  14. Boa noite

    Qual é a senha para descompactar este arquivo?

    Desde já, obrigado!

  15. “vibes” does not work today can you confirm current password please!

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