Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Virgo Red (1973) (Polydor PD-6016)

Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Virgo Red
1973 Polydor PD-6016
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | Art scans at 300 dpi

An underrated Roy Ayers Ubiquity album, Virgo Red has to overcome the fact that it leads off with its weakest track, a cover of the Hot Chocolate song “Brother Louie”, which became a #1 hit for Stories and was ruined for all perpetuity by disgraced comedian Louis C.K. Blame it on his time playing with hirsute Herbie Mann if you will, but Roy seemingly couldn’t pass up an opportunity for cheesy covers of pop songs.

A1  Brother Louie  6:02
A2  Virgo Red  2:59
A3  I Am Your Mind  6:12
A4  The Morning After  4:35
B1  Love From The Sun  2:43
B2  It’s So Sweet  4:21
B3  Giving Love  4:25
B4  Des Nude Soul  4:52

Recorded at Electric Lady Studios, July 1973

Arranged By – Bert DeCoteaux, Roy Ayers

Baritone Saxophone – Arthur Clark, Seldon Powell
Bass – David Johnson, Gordon Edwards
Congas, Bongos, Vocals – Chano O’Ferral
Drums, Percussion – Dennis Davis
Guitar – Dennis Heaven, Will Hawes
Percussion – Adrian Dey, Stephen Sadiz Shbazzberrios
Piano, Electric Piano, Organ – Harry Whitaker
Sitar (Electric Sitar) – Jerry Friedman
Trombone – Garnett Brown
Trumpet – Cecil Bridgewater, Jimmie Owens
Vibraphone, Organ, Vocals, Percussion – Roy Ayers
Vocals – Argerie Ayers, Denise Bridgewater, Leslie Carter, Willie Michael

Art Direction, cover design – Kats Abe
Artwork – Haruo Miyauchi
Engineer – James Green
Engineer, Mixed By – Eddie Kramer
Photography By – Bert Andrews
Producer – Jerry Schoenbaum

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LINEAGE: 1973 Polydor PD-6016 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply; Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on very light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


An underrated Roy Ayers Ubiquity album, Virgo Red has to overcome the fact that it leads off with its weakest track, a cover of the Hot Chocolate song “Brother Louie”, which became a #1 hit for Stories and was ruined for all perpetuity by disgraced comedian Louis C.K.. Blame it on his time playing with Herbie Mann if you will, but Roy seemingly couldn’t pass up an opportunity for cheesy covers of pop songs.

The rest of the album is fantastic, though. Whether it is mind-melting psychedelic jazz-funk ( “I Am Your Mind”) or fairly deep Latin jams (“Des Nude Soul”), Ubiquity was a reliably solid group during its run and this record is no exception. Yes there is another peculiar cover of a popular song — “The Morning After”, from the film The Poseidon Adventure! – but I find it weirdly touching. The record features wizard Harry Whitaker on keyboards; a twenty-two year-old Dee Dee Bridgewater on some vocals; her husband Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet; Chano O’Farrel on percussion and vocals; Ayers on vocals, organ, percussion, and vibes (occasionally processed with distortion, giving them infinite sustain)… and a bunch of other people.  Eddie Kramer  was in the control room making it all sound crisp and clear.

Virgo Red also features the first appearance (as far as I know) of the classic tune “Love From The Sun”.   Written by one Richard Clay, who I know nothing about, the song would be covered several times in the coming years: by Norman Connors, with Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals, and on Bridgewater’s own debut record, Afro Blue.*

 

*The first version of this post stated that Roy Ayers Ubiquity would record it again for 1976’s Everybody Loves The Sunshine.   I’m not sure what I was thinking about, but this was incorrect.

 


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