Pianist Russ Freeman, who produced this record, related it this way : “The last time we were (with Shelly Manne’s quintet) in San Francisco, we went to blow at some motel on the outskirts of town one afternoon. There were some other musicians there; we took turns playing. Jerry (Dodgion) was there. The afternoon wound up with Charlie and Jerry playing the blues with a rhythm section for about twenty minutes. It was one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had, and I wasn’t even playing!
Drummer/label head Pat Ford reunited with Charlie Musselwhite and brought along brother Robben Ford on guitar, producing this return to form. Musselwhite is up to the task in all departments – singing, playing (great tone), and especially songwriting (the title tune and "Seemed Like the Whole World Was Crying," inspired by Muddy Waters' death) – but it had been a while since Robben Ford had played low-down blues (touring with Joni Mitchell, putting in countless hours in L.A. studios), and it may have been wiser to give the guitar chair to Tim Kaihatsu, who by this time had seniority in terms of hours on the bandstand with Musselwhite, above any other Musselwhite alumnus. Pianist Clay Cotton is in fine form. This time out, the deviations (to be expected by now) include Don & Dewey's "Stretching Out," an impressive chromatic harp rendering of "Exodus," and Musselwhite's solo guitar outing, "Baby-O." Easily Musselwhite's best-engineered album yet (nice job, Greg Goodwin).
Buddha's Sho Nuff Groove: The Best of Harvey Mason is an excellent 12-track compilation, featuring all of the fusion musician's biggest crossover smooth jazz and lite funk hits, including "Marching on the Street," "Set It Free," "Till You Take My Love," "What's Going On," "Liquid," "Don't Doubt My Lovin'," "How Does It Feel," and the 12-inch mix of "Groovin' You." This doesn't give a full picture of his talents as a sideman and producer, but it is a concise chronicle of his solo recordings and a welcome addition to his catalog.
Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys make up Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who were responsible for some of the catchiest and brightest synth pop that the '80s had to offer. O.M.D.'s material was a step above other keyboard pop music of the time, thanks to the combination of intelligently crafted hooks and colorful rhythms that bounced and jittered with pristine charm. Their squeaky-clean brilliancy initiated by both their synthesizers and subdued yet attractive vocal styles gave them a more mature sound over bands like Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls, who were attracting a younger audience. The Best of O.M.D. is an excellent compilation of their polished music, starting out with less provocative material like the basic electronic wash of "Electricity" and the bare but ebullient fervor of "Enola Gay." As this set moves along, so does the craftiness of their work, which is evident on tighter sounding songs like "Tesla Girls" and "Locomotion," where the intricacy of their formula begins to take a more resounding shape. O.M.D.'s best work came from 1985's Crush album, which harbored the midnight airiness found in "So in Love" as well as the adolescent innocence that streamed its way through "Secret," which are two of the best tracks on this set.