C'mon and S-W-I-M with Bobby Freeman

C'mon and S-W-I-M with Bobby Freeman

by Bobby FreemanBobby Freeman


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Although this has the same title as Freeman's only Autumn album, 1965's C'mon and S-W-I-M, this is in fact a retrospective of Freeman's entire stint with the label. In addition to all 12 songs from the original C'mon and S-W-I-M LP, it has five non-LP cuts from 1963-1965 singles, and seven previously unissued outtakes and alternates. At the very least, it's enjoyable uptempo party soul. At its most ambitious, there are fusions of rock and soul elements -- hard-slicing guitars, unusual and crafty melodic lines -- that point to the directions explored, in much deeper and more effective fashion, by Sly Stone a few years later. That should not come as a great surprise, given that Stone, then known as Sylvester Stewart, produced this material, in which he was also involved as arranger and frequent songwriter. In fact, "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" (heard here in both its LP version and faster single version) would be done on Sly & the Family Stone's Dance to the Music album, although Larry Graham and not Stone would do lead vocals. More impressive than the energetic dance outings with live-in-the-studio-sounding party noise are Stone/Stewart's pop-soul-rock compositions, including "I'll Never Fall in Love Again"; "That Little Old Heartbreaker Me"; "Friends," with its James Brown-like horns and Latin rhythms, and the idiosyncratically, melodically twisting "Cross My Heart." (The last of these only appeared on 45 originally.) The outtakes and alternates, incidentally, are pretty worthwhile, and not just footnotes, particularly as they include a few Sly Stone-penned tunes. Of those, "Swing Me" is a pretty good Motown approximation, while "Honest" gets into some more personal, melancholy writing that certainly anticipates some of Stone's work a few years down the line. Not a brilliant disc, but a good one that has more historical importance in the rock and soul lineage than has been recognized.

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