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6 Feb 2017

Eugene MC Daniels "Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse" 1970 + "Outlaw" 1971 US Psych Soul,Jazz Funk,Protest Folk

Eugene MC Daniels "Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse" 1970 + "Outlaw" 1971 US Psych Soul,Jazz Funk,Protest Folk

Eugene MC Daniels “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse” 1970  US Psych Soul,Jazz Funk.
full two albums
Eugene MC Daniels "Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse" 1970  US  Psych Soul,Jazz Funk.

*Eugene Booker McDaniels - Vocals
*Harry Whitaker - Piano
*Gary King - Electric Bass
*Miroslav Vitous - Acoustic Bass
*Alphonse Mouzon - Drums
*Richie Resnikoff - Guitar
*Carla Cargill - Vocals

The Lord Is Back 3:18
Jagger The Dagger 6:00
Lovin' Man 4:45
Headless Heroes 3:30
Susan Jane 2:08
Freedom Death Dance 4:16
Supermarket Blues 4:07
The Parasite (For Buffy) 9:36

The album is dedicated to Roberta Flack who is credited: "Special thanks to Miss Roberta Flack for not being afraid to help a brother. She, in my opinion, is a lady of quality, grace, humanity and talent of the highest order. I love you, Bert-G."

As with McDaniel's previous album, this is not a typical Soul album, which can even be seen by the cover image (a picture of McDaniels screaming between two warring samurai).

This album dabbles in form between soul, funk, jazz, and even folk. In addition, it has been a collector's item among rap music and rare groove enthusiasts since the early 90s when several of the songs were sampled by many hip hop producers including Pete Rock and Q-Tip...........................

Eugene McDaniels ‎"Outlaw" 1971 US Soul Jazz Funk

*Eugene Booker McDaniels - Vocals
*Ron Carter - Bass
*Ray Lucas - Drums
*Eric Weissberg - Guitar
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar
*Mother Hen - Piano
*Buck Clarke - Percussion
*Welfare City Choir - Choir

Outlaw 5:00
Sagittarius Red 3:03
Welfare City 2:52
Silent Majority 4:10
Love Letter To America 3:57
Unspoken Dreams Of Light 6:40
Cherrystones 3:08
Reverend Lee 6:31
Black Boy 2:59

Like many other Americans of the era, something happened to Eugene McDaniels between 1965 and 1970 that transformed him from Gene McDaniels to “Eugene McDaniels the Left Rev. Mc D”.
The former Mr. McDaniels was a clean-cut soul singer in the mold of Jackie Wilson that enjoyed minor commercial success in the early ‘60s; the reinvented Reverend posited himself as a fervent voice of protest, recording a pair of now-classic records for Atlantic in 1970 and 1971, “Outlaw” and “Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse”.
But where many other artists dabbled in the counterculture to explore different ways of presenting their image or to take advantage of looser codes of moral conduct, McDaniels fully embraced the movement’s radical politics - so much so that then-Vice President Spiro Agnew allegedly called Atlantic to issue a verbal cease-and-desist order upon the release of his second record (Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse) for the label.
Headless Heroes was quite revelatory, for its jazzy soul vibes had been a source of significant hip-hop samples (Pete Rock, A Tribe Called Quest, Organized Konfusion) whose original sources were only heard by a fortunate few cratediggers. Outlaw, on the other hand, is an entirely different breed of soul: more rock-influenced, more overtly political, and truly beyond comparison with any of its contemporaries.
As on Headless Heroes, McDaniels recorded Outlaw with a rock- (and jazz-) solid band that featured legendary jazz bassists Ron Carter and Miroslav Vitous, ubiquitous ‘70s session guitarist Hugh McCracken and Alphonse Mouzon on drums - a group that fleshed out the Rev’s hippie-folk-funky dreams with undaunted restraint. The band is largely responsible for the record’s pure cohesiveness, as they bring McDaniels’s disparate styles together into one of the most powerfully lasting statements of post-Aquarian Age culture. ......

At the start of the 1960s Gene McDaniels was flying high. Smartly-dressed and clean-cut, the smooth crooner from Kansas City scored two Top 10 US pop hits for the Liberty label, 'A Hundred Pounds Of Clay' and 'Tower Of Strength.' But as the '60s progressed, McDaniels' career took a commercial nose-dive as musical tastes changed and in 1970, after several fallow years, he re-launched his career as Eugene McDaniels and signed to Atlantic Records (aided by the fact that his song, 'Compared To What,' was a big hit for the label by Les McCann and Eddie Harris).

Those who were familiar with McDaniels' previous oeuvre would have been shocked by his Atlantic debut, 'Outlaw,' released in 1970, which has now been remastered and reissued alongside a clutch of classic soul and jazz titles by Warner Japan (the good news is that they're available over here at mid-price). The provocative cover of 'Outlaw' depicted a hirsute, scruffy McDaniels - who dubbed himself 'the left rev. mc d' - holding a revolver and clutching a bible alongside two armed women.

The music (produced by Joel Dorn) was even more provocative, though perhaps not as revolutionary as McDaniels had hoped - songs like 'Welfare City,' 'The Silent Majority' and the ironically-titled 'Love Letter To America' are Bob Dylan-esque folk-rock songs with trenchantly polemic lyrics focusing on America's domestic problems. There's a jazz-meets-funk tinge to 'Unspoken Dreams Of Light' and the excellent 'Cherrystones,' a cleverly-wrought jazz-style paean to wilful ignorance. McDaniels' also serves up his own version of 'Reverend Lee,' a song about a preacher beset by carnal temptations that Roberta Flack brilliantly covered on her 'Chapter Two' album.

McDaniels' second Atlantic album, '71's 'Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse,' continues lyrically where 'Outlaw' left off with its protest themes though the music is darker, jazzier and funkier, thanks to a crack rhythm section comprising pianist Harry Whitaker and future Weather Report duo, bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer Alphonse Mouzon. On 'Outlaw,' McDaniels was trying to be a black Bob Dylan but on 'Heroes,' he's channelling Mick Jagger, who's the inspiration behind a faintly sinister homage, 'Jagger The Dagger,' a song whose off-kilter jazzy groove has been sampled by a Tribe Called Quest and numerous other hip-hop acts.

The funkafied title track is a conspiracy theory song that focuses on conflict in the Middle East, while the epic 'The Parasite' finds McDaniels' commenting on the genocide of Native Americans. Arguably the album's best cut is the jazz-inflected 'Freedom Death Dance' (which references Eddie Harris's jazz classic, 'Freedom Jazz Dance'). It laments the futility of good human endeavours in an unjust world. Sounds heavy? Well, lyrically, it is but the album's more sober themes are often leavened with a wry sense of humour, as evidenced by the absurd and hilarious narrative 'Supermarket Blues.'

Sadly, not many people saw the humour and satire behind some of McDaniels' lyrics, which came to the attention of President Richard Nixon's regime and resulted in a complaining phone call by then US vice-president Spiro Agnew to Atlantic Records' boss, Ahmet Ertegun. The fallout from that call was that McDaniels was unceremoniously dumped from the label (though he went on to become a hit-making producer and songwriter for Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight and Phyllis Hyman).

The album sank into obscurity until segments of it were sampled by hip-hop acts in the late '80s, which eventually brought about its reissue in the early noughties. Now deemed a cult classic, 'Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse' is back in circulation again. Remastered, it sounds better than ever, though sadly these Japanese reissues don't possess liner notes, although McDaniels' lyrics are present and are well-worth reading. Much of what he wrote remains relevant to today's troubled world. The late producer Joel Dorn said of McDaniels: 'He's a genius.' McDaniels, himself, was more modest. "I'm just a half-assed poet,' he declared to this writer in 2002.
by Charles Waring............

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! Also, while that album has the reputation for being the one that prompted Spiro Agnew to tap his phone, I have a strong feeling the spying started with “Outlaw”. I mean, they’re holding a rifle on the album cover, and “Love Song to America” declares him an enemy of the state (albeit unwilling).

Eugene McDaniels may be famous (or infamous) for `Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse` but for my money (which isn’t much these days), THIS album has the songs! One of the weirdest career trajectories in music, McDaniels had gone from an early 60s R&B hit maker, as Gene McDaniels, with songs like “100 lbs of Clay”, then seemingly taken a few years away from music, and reemerged with this militant, bizarre, and utterly seductive music. If I remember correctly he had begun working on this album while in the studio with Bobby Hutcherson recording the amazing album “Now!” Only one of the tunes on this album is really reminiscent of that masterpiece, “Unspoken Dreams of Light”, loaded with jazz intervals and trippy, convoluted lyrics about a coming bloody revolution sweeping the country. It’s a rock-funk-folk arrangement, I suppose, but the refrain sounds like it was left over from “Now.”

Every song on here is very literally great. McDaniels’ vocals are amazing, both emotionally stirring and also full of swagger and attitude. There is a twang to some of the tunes and especially Hugh McCracken’s and Eric Weissberg’s guitar licks that might invite comparisons to the Rolling Stones of this era. You can say that if you like, McDaniels probably would have not have objected to the comparison, but in a profound way these two albums of McDaniels are everything the Stones wanted to be in 1970. Black, for one thing, but incendiary, funky, roots-laden, gospel-tinged soul and rock music that truly must have made the so-called “Silent Majority” tremble in their straight-laced shoes with its scathing social criticisms, dark ironic humor, and sharply articulated anger. How is the listener supposed to react to the folk strumming of “Welfare City” whose chorus is, “la la la, la la la la la, la la, la la la la la, smoke a joint” ?? Well, just sing along I guess. By the end of the tune, with layered vocal harmonies, it sounds as catchy as “I’d Like To Give The World a Coke.”

“Silent Majority” is sadly as relevant today as it was in 1970. For those too young to know the history of that phrase, it was what the reactionary Nixon-era conservatives called themselves during the “cultural revolution” of leftist politics, free love, drugs, and rock and roll. McDaniels calls them out on their hypocrisy and also makes the astute observation that they weren’t really all that ‘silent.’ Unfortunately these same types of people are even more organized now, and still claim to speak for the “majority” of Americans, representing true patriotism, and calling anyone who disagrees with them a communist. These days, they call themselves The Tea Party.

McDaniels would never again make records like this one and “Headless Heroes”. It seems as if he has never said much publicly about them (silenced by the Kissinger-blessed majority??). It almost seems as if he is not aware, or simply uninterested, in the profound influence this music had on the relatively few people who have had the privilege of hearing it. These are underground classics loved by fans of rock, soul, and funk, have been name-checked by all kinds of hipsters. There was an article devoted to Daniels in the respectable magazine (I mean that sincerely) Wax Poetics, but I don’t remember what it said. Also can’t figure out what issue it was in but it seems to have been included in the second `anthology` in book form. Anyone who wants to scan it and post it here, be my guest. The guy is kind of a mystery to me in a lot of ways.

McDaniels was a good friend and colleague of Roberta Flack during this period, and wrote classic tunes in her repertoire like “Compared to What?” and “Reverend Lee” (his version of this latter tune is MUCH stranger, and longer), both of which became stables of Flack’s repertoire during the early 70s. McDaniels also penned one of her huge hits, “Feel Like Making Love”, which won him a Grammy. Again, ….what the fuck? How does one go from making THIS record, to winning a Grammy for a love song just a few years later??? He has also written material for Aretha Franklin.................

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..