It’s going to be Madlib season in 2019. Along with Freddie Gibbs, the duo will be releasing their sophomore album Bandana following their 2014 classic Piñata. Along with the album announcement, they released their new single “Crime Pays,” which has an entertaining video accompanying it, but the record itself is so gorgeous and soulful, that it is the clear highlight of the record to me. That sample is Walt Barr’s “Free Spirit,” off his 1979 album East Winds, released via Muse Records.
Information about Walt Barr is difficult to find, but according to Roy Braverman, who was a dear friend and fellow musician, Walt and Roy did sessions together in NY and L.A. They were signed to Crunch Records, Fantasy Records and RCA Records together. Walt asked Roy to co-produce and play keyboards on his three jazz-rock albums for Muse Records including a couple of songs he co-wrote with him. Walt and Roy wrote other songs together, some with Michael Caruso. For a short time, they toured together playing for Papa John Creech …with whom Walt toured for several years. He was in the Walt Barr Band and played his jazz-rock fusion originals. They would often jam for hours … and he played on countless demo recordings of Roy’s. (This was taken from Roy’s website you can check out here.
As for the track, it is a soothing and beautiful Rhodes-driven track with smooth and soulful vocals from an uncredited female singer. The keys are stunning, and are accompanied by guitar leads that are intertwined with the Rhodes to add layers of soul and immense amounts of groove. The drumming is subtle, but adds a beat to nod your head to. As the track progresses, the guitar notes develop, with the angelic vocals really adding such amazing texture to the record itself. Madlib too this sample and incorporated in such a phenomenal way. The guitar grooves and keys are sprinkled on top of a harder-hitting beat than the original. A lot of the features of the original seem to be left untouched on Madlib’s instrumental, bringing the aura of the original record, making it sound fresh. Freddie Gibbs comes through with an exceptional, witty verse and I cannot express how excited I am for this upcoming album. It is out on the 28th June!
Listen to Walt Barr’s excellent “Free Spirit” off his 1979 album East Winds, released via Muse Records. You can purchase the record here.
Listen to and watch Madlib & Freddie Gibbs’ new single “Crime Pays” ahead of their new album Bandana, set to be released on the 28th June. You can pre-order the album here.