This eponymous debut from Texan quintet SCORPION CHILD surely ranks among the most head-scratching LPs of 2013, maybe the entire decade thus far.Why? Because it's so damn hard to fathom WHAT heavy metal category to file the band under: trad, retro, stoner, groove - heck, even '80s hair metal springs to mind, at times - like some kind of headbanger morality test, nagging one to distrust that gut feeling insisting everything will actually be just fine in the morning.
This previously unreleased live set, which has been issued on Blue Note's Rare Groove Series, will bore anyone who listens closely. The repertoire is dominated by lengthy funk grooves that are quite danceable but never develop beyond the obvious. Altoist Lou Donaldson was using a baritone horn at the time that gave him a generic and unappealing tone, the obscure trumpeter Fred Ballard does his best to no avail and the enthusiastic rhythm section (guitarist Melvin Sparks, organist Leon Spencer, Jr., and drummer Idris Muhammad) keeps the grooves repetitious. Bob Porter's liner notes (which colorfully give readers the history of Newark jazz of the past 30 years) are superlative but, even with the inclusion of a fast blues, musically nothing much happens.