Sonny Sharrock
Black Woman


3.5
great

Review

by Tb1114 USER (8 Reviews)
December 20th, 2017 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

-- Let me preface by saying I wanted to give this review a thematic parallel between the title and its ties to the music, creating a picture of the African American experience - particularly of the black woman - and aligning it with this cacophonous, discordant, and inaccessible album; I feel the connection is important and should be greater touched upon. But because I’m a white man from the burbs, I decided to keep these indulgences limited to this preface. --

Sonny Sharrock was a free-jazz guitarist who hit his prime alongside his genre in the ‘60’s-’70’s. In this album we see his twangy, oft-tremolo play style paired with his then-wife’s senseless operatic hollering as well as spiritual jazz influences. This mosaic crafts this album to be something modern listeners could akin to an amalgamation of Godspeed You! Black Emperor guitars (particularly F#A#) and The Great Gig in the Sky, backed by maddening free-jazz. If a picture formulates in your head from this combination, surely this word should again arise: inaccessible.

For most of the album (“Black Woman”, “Peanut”, and “Portrait of Linda…”) there is a clear theme woven through the music via the combination of sounds mentioned above. Consistent clash. Senseless opera, twangy western guitar, and free-jazz backing. In almost any other context under any other guitarist, the leads would sound out of place. In this album, rather, it creates a distinguished, one-of-a-kind atmosphere truly American in joy and fervent in African American pain and reckoning.

Between these songs is the dichotomous pairing “Bialero” and “Blind Willie”, representing two opposing sounds also upholding utmost conventions compared the rest of the album. The former is a traditional song and is as operatic as the album gets. The latter, the low-point of the album, is Sonny adopting a twangy, acoustic, and bluesy chord progression that is quite enjoyable!, yet does little in variation… making this song - the shortest of the album - feeling like the longest and most maniacal. It does however, serve as a nice break between the austerity of the rest of the album and the meltdown that is to follow: the closer “Portrait of Linda in Three Colors, All Black” - which, like the song’s title, is an excellent close.

The album, like the bulk of free-jazz, leaves the listener with something to be desired. It creates an unforgettable setting and experience yet does little to venture to its full capabilities. Here is where the break between listeners unfolds: for those content with free-jazz and its tendency to leave composition unanswered, this album presents a unique take only the Sharrocks could present. For those insatiable, the album presents to you that same Sharrock-unique sound, but you are left disappointed that the composition underneath is not quite as breathtaking.

For that, I leave this album a 3.5/5 as I, to my chagrin, fall into the latter category and wish I could see deeper in the content the same amazement the Sharrocks’ performances lead.




Recent reviews by this author
Various Artists Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient...Nina Simone High Priestess of Soul
Ambrose Akinmusire The Imagined Sailor Is Far Easier To PaintTaylor McFerrin Early Riser
Sun Ra Super-Sonic JazzHerbie Hancock Crossings
user ratings (32)
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tb1114
December 20th 2017


568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Figured I should eventually write a review for an album I wasn't totally in love with!

Cygnatti
December 20th 2017


33405 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

owo

Digging: The Microphones - Microphones in 2020

Hovse
December 20th 2017


2725 Comments


Good album

Havey
December 20th 2017


10277 Comments


sup hovse

Hovse
December 21st 2017


2725 Comments


Nm just drinking beer and watching a movie
U?

owen
December 22nd 2017


5146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this has been on repeat for a few weeks

NeroCorleone80
December 23rd 2017


34618 Comments


now review ask the ages

owen
December 24th 2017


5146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

or Last Exit

GhandhiLion
May 13th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://twitter.com/flea333/status/1175621038106804224?s=20



bump for based Flea

Digging: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2020


18765 Comments


yessssss

SandwichBubble
May 13th 2020


12076 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If only he made good music on top of enjoying good music

now THAT would be something.

GhandhiLion
May 13th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmmm I think Peanut is best track. Mb Portrait.

GhandhiLion
May 13th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Flea is a very good bassist but RHCP are a very meh band.

botulist
May 13th 2020


504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album has two earth-shatteringly great songs. the rest is meh. but the two are so damn good, a 4 this is.

GhandhiLion
May 13th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wrong

botulist
May 13th 2020


504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo





has he got anything else like this in his canon? I didn't like any of his Last Exit work.

GhandhiLion
May 13th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Which two songs?

botulist
May 13th 2020


504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

title track and Linda (which may well be top 50 songs of all time for me, something about it just hits me in all the perfect ways).

GhandhiLion
May 14th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"has he got anything else like this in his canon?"



Monkey-Pockie-Boo

GhandhiLion
May 14th 2020


9296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

https://open.spotify.com/album/5UU5VayZ3UmiqKJwWnFWFu



The 5 Sharrock fans of sput need to check this recording from 66. It's pretty rad.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2020 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy