Culled from the deep vaults of Chicago's Chess Records, 'Go Go Power' takes its name from a fantastic slice of gritty Chicago R&B groove by pint-sized soulster Sugar Pie Desanto. The songs here were not chart hits in the U.S., but were popular in the U.K., where clubs devoted to soul music continue to thrive. Marlena Shaw's excellent "Wade in the Water" shows that she wasn't restricted to jazz recordings, and Billy Stewart surprises with the funky rendition of the blues standard "Everyday (I Have the Blues)." As if they weren't potent enough by themselves, Sugar Pie Desanto and Etta James team up for "In the Basement" and ask you to "stop and check yourself" on "Do I Make Myself Clear." It's also nice to see lesser-known names make stellar appearances here, like the Knight Brothers – best known for their 1965 ballad "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me" – turn in a Memphis burner with "That'll Get It," while Chicago staple Bobby McClure proves he knows what he wants with the pulsing "Peak of Love." A thoroughly consistent selection that makes for a fine downtown diversion when the uptown gloss and polish of Motown seems too genteel.
The baritone saxophone is seldom heard outside brass sections of big bands. As a solo instrument or as the only brass instrument in a band it is a real rarity and there is only one female baritone saxophonist who truly masters her instrument – Céline Bonacina. You might be surprised to see the petite Frenchwoman pick up an instrument that is almost the same size as her but, when she starts playing, the mésalliance becomes a symbiosis and the sound flows out without effort.