Melvin Sparks was a talented American soul jazz, hard bop and blues guitarist. The Texas native picked up a guitar at age 11 and was only 13 when he sat in with B.B. King. As a high school student he joined Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and then the Upsetters (a touring band formed by Little Richard, which also backed Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye). Sparks and his guitar were very much in demand during the ‘60s-‘70s and he was featured on sessions by Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Lou Donaldson & Sonny Phillips among others. Sparks went on to record multiple albums for such renowned labels as Prestige and Savant and worked as a session musician for Blue Note. His songs have been sampled countless times (including Grandmaster Flash) over the decades.
In 1973 Sparks moved into funkier directions and joined the Westbound/Eastbound family where he recorded an all time classic: Texas Twister. This record is a delight and there's a lot happening while Sparks is peeling off some fluid lightning riffs! Texas Twister features Idris Muhammad on drums, who provides a frenzy of funky JB-influenced over-the-top soul-jazz. Featured on Hammond Organ is the great Ceasar Frazier and bass duties are handled by Wilbur Bascomb (know for his performance on Jeff Beck's Wired and the soundtrack for the 1979 film version of Hair). Add some extremely tight horns and congas to the mix (which gives this album a sweet Latin Jazz vibe) and you're swinging all night long. The proceedings were carefully overseen by engineer Malcolm Addey and producer Bob Porter (Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, John Coltrane).
Originally released in 1973 on Eastbound Records, super rare and fetching large sums on the collectors market, Texas Twister is finally back on vinyl in a deluxe edition featuring the original art by Neil Terk (Muddy Waters, Dire Straits, Funkadelic, Grace Jones).