Roland Kirk “Volunteered Slavery” (1968)

Track Selection: Live at Newport (12m)


Side 1: Charles McGhee (tp) Dick Griffith (tb) Roland Kirk (ts, mzo, str, cl, fl, nose fl, whistle, vo) Ron Burton (p) Vernon Martin (b) Sonny Brown or Charles Crosby (d ) Joe Habad Texidor (tamb) The Roland Kirk Spirit Choir (back vo) recorded Regent Sound Studios, NYC, July 22-3, 1969

Side 2: Roland Kirk (ts, mzo, str, cl, whistle, vo) Ron Burton (p) Vernon Martin (b) Jimmy Hopps (d) Joe Habad Texidor (per) recorded “Newport Jazz Festival”, Newport, RI, July 7, 1968


Kirk has a strong, not to say, fanatical, following. A maverick even at the outset from his jazz roots, his later music, in the Seventies veers into a populist train  – interpretations of Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin, and “Ma Cherie Amour”. Ironic adoption of “standards” of the day?  Tribute band performance, or “jazz-pop”? I don’t really know. A strong individualist who defies categorisation, Kirk seems to me that very American tradition that loves to combine technical artistry with flagrant showmanship.

Side two offers Kirk’s tribute to Coltrane, which feels like firmer ground to me, so the selection runs with that. Being live at Newport Jazz Festival, there is the usual audience whoopin’ ‘n hollerin’, and a long coda. What ever happened to ripples of polite applause? Those were the days of the rock band obligatory ten minute drum solo, and every audience had  one guy who had a degree in piercing two-fingered whistles.

Vinyl: 1969 original UK release Atlantic 588207 Stereo

The label says Polydor, but thankfully it is a Philips pressing (UK code 420)

Collectors Corner

Source: s/h vinyl store, West London

Got to love that cover. I would buy this for just the cover.  Email incoming from the Campaign Against the Wearing of  Unsuitable Hats on Record Covers. They are serving a warning notice, regarding the guy on the right in the candy-striped top hat, thinks he is Dr John the Night Tripper. Thankfully the only thing smoking is the music.

2 thoughts on “Roland Kirk “Volunteered Slavery” (1968)

  1. Pingback: Roland Kirk - Volunteered Slavery « RVJ PREMIUM

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