A mover and shaker behind the New Orleans music scene, Eddie Bo had regional success in the late ’50s with piano stroll-era novelties like “Check Mr. Popeye,” but hit his stride a decade later with a brand of funk and soul that could only have originated in his hometown. “The Hook & Sling” was an R&B hit in 1969, propelled by Bo’s good-natured exhortations and the undeniable groove from drummer James Black. The follow-up single, “(If It’s Good to You) It’s Good for You,” did not achieve the same kind of chart success but is just as tough. The Hook and Sling collects Bo’s output for a number of small New Orleans labels, as well as tracks previously unreleased. Primarily heavy funk instrumentals, with plenty of wah wah guitars and drum breaks, there are connections to Bo’s musical past, including “Love Has Been Good” and “Come to Me”,” two blues-based ballads that lean hard on Bo’s piano. Despite the contrasting styles, Hook & Sling’s material is impressively strong throughout, including good advice on love (“Check Your Bucket” and dance crazes “The Thang”). [AllMusic Review by Kurt Edwards]
Eddie Bo’s Funky Funky New Orleans brings more rare & unreleased New Orleans funk action from 1968-1971.
In the Pocket with Eddie Bo!, Vampi Soul collection is arguably the most representative audio portrait of the New Orleans songwriting and performing kingpin, Edwin Bocage. Covering 60 years of music making, its whopping 28 tracks highlight his songs, singles, and productions for other artists. Like all of the best New Orleans music, this baby is sweaty, raw, greasy, and super funky. Some of the classics here include Bo’s stellar bit of proto-soul-funk in “I Found a Little Girl” (while it may borrow from Ray Charles’ gospel-soul inspiration, it gives back in its prefiguring of the bridge style James Brown used to great success later on), “We Like Mambo” (the Afro-Caribbean style welded hard to NOLA second line), and the great break-driven duet “Lover & Friend” with Inez Cheatham. There are an equal number of highlights in his productions and arrangements including — but not limited to — “Horse with a Freeze, Pt. 1” by Roy Ward, the Explosions’ “Garden of Our Trees,” with its burning bassline and tight horn charts, and Curley Moore & Cool Ones’ “Funky Yeah” (which is just damn nasty in the way it uses Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” rhythm). Then there’s the elastic wah-wah guitar and keys in “The Rubber Band” by Bo with the Soul Finders and the straight-up employment of a Motown-style string chart on his 2007 single “Chained.” Anyway you want to listen to this slab, chronologically, on shuffle, or one track played over and over until you gotta move to the next, is just fine because In the Pocket with Eddie Bo is the bomb. [AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek]
If funk is your thing, ya gotta dig!!!