Rick Rubin and Bill Laswell approach some of their favorite artists with a similar thought process… strip away the baggage of their careers and get them back to their roots. Rubin has racked up a garage full of platinum records for his efforts, while Laswell has only garnered a shelf full of cool, out-of-print CDs. Of course, the difference is that Laswell rarely trafficked in commercially viable music. In the 90s, via his label imprint, Black Arc, Laswell backed – both musically and financially – some great, long-lost artists, ranging from The Last Posts, Bootsy Collins, Sly & Robbie, Jerome “Big Foot” Brailey, Anton Fier, George Clinton… and Buddy Miles, who returned strong in 1994, with guitarist Nicky Skopelitis and The Uptown Horns in tow. On one hand, Hell And Back is a rather by-the-numbers, hard-driving rock/funk release (with some surprisingly soft-hearted R&B). But, because Laswell knows something about how to framework a groove, even routine ideas like “Born Under A Bad Sign” and “All Along The Watchtower” have something to offer. Grooving and horn-driven, “The Decision” is a standout, as is the infectious “Nothing Left To Lose.” So, overall, this LP winds up being a respectable showing from both Miles and Laswell. Find Hell And Back at Amazon, HERE.
We’ve got plenty more Laswell-related projects in the archives, including another Buddy Miles album, the power trio, Hardware, featuring Bootsy Collins & Stevie Salas (HERE)… also THIRD RAIL South Saturn Delta (with James Blood Ulmer, HERE), MUTINY Aftershock 2005 (with Jerome “Big Foot” Brailey, HERE), LEE SCRATCH PERRY Rise Again (HERE), ABIODUN OYEWOLE 25 Years & UMAR BIN HASSAN Be Bop Or Be Dead (both HERE), DEADLINE Dissident (HERE), GOLDEN PALOMINOS w/LORI CARSON This Is How It Feels + Prison Of The Rhythm – The Remixes (HERE), THE LAST POETS Holy Terror (HERE), Dreams Of Freedom: Ambient Translations Of Bob Marley In Dub & Panthalassa: Music Of Miles Davis 1969-1974 + Panthalassa: The Remixes, (both HERE) and Axiom Funk: Funkcronomicon + Axiom Ambient: Lost In The Translation (both HERE). Not to mention Massacre‘s entire discography, HERE.
Born Under A Bad Sign (5:08)
The Change (6:57)
All Along The Watchtower (5:06)
Let It Be Me (5:44)
Come Back Home (4:36)
Be Kind To Your Girlfriend (4:45)
The Decision (5:18)
Nothing Left To Lose (4:28)