From the Bunker Vault:
Pleased to share with you a delightful rendition of the traditional song 'Deep River' by Hank Crawford and some fellow southern greats.
I found this record while visiting New Orleans during the summer this year. An exceptional town, with a musical heritage that rivals any city in the world. What better souvenir than hitting a local record shop and grabbing some local music?
I grabbed a few different New Orleans records, but of the ones I brought home I think this one is my favourite. Hank Crawford is an amazing saxophonist. Hard to describe it any other way. Despite shedding the lyrics to 'Deep River', this instrumental version has all the spirituality and soul that you find in other versions. The piano beckons you in as the saxophone testifies.
I was drawn to this record, not being familiar with Hank Crawford, by the credits on the back. The legendary Dr. John performs all the piano on not only this song, but the entire record. I was safe to assume that Dr. John wouldn't lend his talent to a recording not worth his skill. In actuality, Dr. John was probably excited at the time to get the opportunity to play with Hank Crawford, not vice versa. Never trying to steal the spotlight from Crawford, he gracefully plays a foundation that the others build upon. Adding touches of brilliant flare to great effect. Nonetheless, Hank Crawford is the star of the show. Not surprising looking at his past history having worked closely with Ray Charles, Etta James and Lou Rawls during his career.
There is a quiet brilliance with his saxophone playing. It pops off the record but remains smooth and very settled in the song. I can't imagine many people wouldn't find it anything but absolutely pleasing.
This takes me back to Frenchman street in New Orleans and the overflowing musical talent I witnessed. The perfect souvenir.