Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Just when you thought yet another cover of The Meters' "Cissy Strut" would render you comatose, along come Bill "Ravi" Harris & the Prophets.
On "Funky Sitar Man," Ravi Harris & the Prophets play James Brown/Meters-inspired funk with a difference: The main voice on these instrumentals is sitar. It might be viewed as a gimmick -- if it didn't work so well. Harris is never going to make it as a performer of Indian classical music; he hasn't got the chops for that, but his playing on this album is as good as it needs to be (let's face it, Indian classical and instrumental funk require decidedly different skills). Solid bass, syncopated drums, chicken-scratch guitar, and economical organ fills form the backdrop, and the sitar rides at the front. This has got to be the greatest album of sitar funk ever (not that there's much competition), and truly one of my favorite, and greatest, finds. These are the kind of obscure gems that make crate digging so rewarding.