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Tony Williams Lifetime - Turn It Over CD (album) cover

TURN IT OVER

Tony Williams Lifetime

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Fresh on the heels of their electrifying 1969 debut album "Emergency !", the TONY WILLIAMS LIFETIME returned the following year with "Turn It Over", a dark and uncromprimising nine song broadside aimed squarely at the Jazz establishment". This quote was taken from the liner notes. Jack Bruce from CREAM fame has been added to this lineup that also includes Larry Young on keyboards and John McLaughlin on guitars. I really feel this album would have been so much better without Tony's cringe-worthy vocals. And it also doesn't sound nearly as good as Tony's later masterpiece "Belive It !" unfortunately. With a lineup like this though there is lots to like.

"To Whom It May Concern-Them" and the following track "To Whom It May Concern-Us" are both Chick Corea composed tracks.The first song starts of harmlessly enough but it quickly becomes more powerful and aggressive as guitar and organ rip it up. Very raw and loud. This continues as it blends into the second track and continues along the same path. "This Night This Song" is a Williams track and neither the vocals or music are what you would call pleasant. That was me being polite. "Big Nick" is a John Coltrane tune. This one's jazzier with some excellent organ although they all stand out here.

"Right On" is short but it makes a statement. Pounding drums with some good organ runs while guitar joins the fray a minute in. "Once I Loved" opens with some eerie organ. Vocals before 2 minutes. This is painful. "Vuelta Abajo" is a good song that reminds me of Hendrix. "A Famous Blues" has vocals and that's all i'll say. "Allah Be Praised" is my favourite. It's a Larry Young song that features some amazing organ and guitar. Tony struts his stuff 2 minutes in.

For me 3 stars is fair, I just think this could have been so much better.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#208719)
Posted Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Turn It Over ? Play It Loud is the full name of this album I believe, and this is an obvious reference to the arrival of Jack Bruce into an otherwise unchanged Lifetime. A very black cover (almost more so than VU's White Light album of the previous year), and the album has a definitely angry, psyched-out snarls at the establishment. The linernotes mention Williams wanting to do is MC5, but I'm much more partial to Vanilla Fudge being his prime in fluence for this album. Despite being known as Cream singer and one of the bazssist that rewrote the rock bass playing book, Bruce is originally a jazz musician as his formation in Graham bond Organization, but jack will not sing on this album, but rather McLaughlin (if you can believe THAT) and Tony Williams himself.

Starting on the double Corea's two-part To Whom it May Concern, TWL is definitely attacking from the starting gun, and you know right away that their first album was no fluke with their incendiary hard-psyched jazz Indeed the track is slowed down, much like Vanilla Fudge did, to allow plenty of dramatic effects and McL's twisted (by effects) voice. Larry Young does not much different than Emerson did with his Hammond in The Nice, whipping it back, tearing its guts out, something that VF's Stein did quite well too. McL's guitar is as fiery as you've ever heard it before, like on the future Devotion or Tribute to JJ. If Trane's Big Nick sort of sticks out from the album's general psychedelic folly. But just after that, the short Right proves to be the most VF-esque number and the low organ groans spill-over Once I Loved (sung by Williams, this time), sprawling itself over five minutes. Not for every ears, I'll say.

The 5-mins Vuelta Abajo sounds like a very early heavy metal track, and it puts to shame Blue Cheer. With a heavy repetitive riff and searing guitar The funeral (graveyard background voice) Famous Blues is more an organ-lead track, despite being McL-penned, while the closing Allah Be Praised is very much predating Mahavishnu Orchestra. The superb bonus track One Word is showing how much greater this album would've been if Jack had taken over the vocals, as he does one of his most spectacular and dramatic showcase. Musically, the track is completely in the album's spectrum, too.

More than a jazz-rock album, TIV-PIL is a full psych-prog album that some jazz roots , one that some 40 years later can still shock and surprise. Ifnot a must have, thisis at leasta must-hear, even if some forewarned progheads might still wonder on which album they've fallen upon.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#220480)
Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After great Tony Williams solo double debut, this album continues his progressive dark and heavy attack. Just look on the line -up, and you will agree - this is all-stars band with McLaughlin on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass, Larry Young on keys, besides of Williams himself.

From very first sound you will hear (and will feel) heaviness of Hammond passages and ecstatic drumming - first two compositions are Corea's, but sound much heavier than originals. Third song is psychedelic ballade with unusual vocals and heavy bass line.

At their best moments albums represents excellent energetic and heavy guitar/keyboards driven psychedelic progressive fusion. However vocals and some unfocused pieces are album's weak points.

I own 10-songs LP version, and sound quality is below average (never listened to CD version, possibly this problem was solved there). In whole - great album with some not so good moments. But if you like early Hammond/guitar led progressive fusion, dark and heavy, with doze of psychedelic, you need to listen this album for sure.

My rating - 3,5, rounded to 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#284456)
Posted Tuesday, June 01, 2010 | Review Permalink

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