Mo’ Greens Please: Freddie Roach

Mo’ Greens Please is Freddie Roach’s second album. It is a little hard to come by, as the last CD issue was a Japan only limited edition but is well worth the effort, since it features an interesting and diverse set of songs with Freddie Roach at the top of his game.

Once again, if you know anything about what happened to Freddie Roach when he moved to France in to late 60’s, please let us know. It is a mystery!

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The self-penned opener, Googa Mooga is a driving blues based track, which harks back to the 50’s R&B with good interplay between Roach and Conrad Lester on tenor sax. This is followed By Baby Don’t You Cry, which has a very short solo from Kenny Burrell (this album was recorded exactly 2 weeks after KB was in the same studio for his fine Midnight Blue session). The sequencing of tracks is somewhat strange as this track really takes the pedal off the gas. Track three is a return to form with the sanctified beats of Party Time getting things back up to speed. Nada Bossa is a great shuffling cha cha cha beast with some languid sax from Conrad Lester while side one closes with the title track. Mo’ Greens is vaguely reminiscent of Green Onions, to my ears. Conrad Lester’s sax growls and purrs and it is a number that should be heard more.

My favourite track opens side 2. Blues In The Front Room on which Freddie Roach really works out. It features here with a visual accompaniment from YouTube, courtesy of bigjohnpatton’s channel

On I Know Roach dips into the set dances popular at the time. Would you dance The Bird or the Hully Gully to this? I don’t know, you tell me! Something like The Stroll would fit though. Is You is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby is the well-known Jordan-Austin standard which leads up to what is probably the smoochiest track ever released on Blue Note, a lush Unchained Melody, which is sure to have melted numerous erstwhile hearts of ice. The set closes with a disposable, Two Different Worlds, a much-covered tune which has passed me by (especially as I’ve never knowingly listened to Engelbert Humperdinck who visited it in 1967 apparently).

All in all a strongish set but with a couple of tracks that don’t appeal to me. Having bought it with the same artist’s later Soul Book as a makeweight, I have to say that is the set I would seek out first before getting this one.

My copy is an original Mono Blue Note first pressing (albeit in a bit tatty VG+ condition) and together with Soul Book and postage from the USA I paid well under $50, so I can’t complain.

I’m quite fond of the cover- love the colours and the graphic strength. Freddie Roach explained on his self-penned sleeve that the picture was taken at his favourite New York City cafe and that the woman filling his plate had been responsible for adding pounds to his weight.

The band etc:- Freddie Roach (Hammond organ); Conrad Lester (tenor sax); Kenny Burrell (guitar tracks 2-3 & 6-8) Eddie Wright (1,4,5); Clarence Johnson (drums). Recorded 21 January and 11 March 1963. Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. Produced: Rudy Van Gelder Studio. Sleeve Notes: Freddie Roach. Cover photos: Ronnie Braithwaite. Cover Design: Reid Miles. Issued as Blue Note 4128.

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