Joe Farrell – “Upon This Rock” LP 1973 CTI Records

For years I was obsessed with records released on the CTI (Creed Taylor) Record Label and determined to track them down one by one. It started with Bob James 1 & 2, after learning Run DMC had sampled “Take me to the Mardi Gras” for thier classic “Peter Piper”, then I found Freddie Hubbard’s awesome “Red Clay” album and so on. But as I found more and more I realized the label has some great album releases  (usually the early to mid 70’s) and others that are not so good (Generally the later 70’s releases).

The early 70’s Albums are the best releases on CTI, many have killer breaks and samples (used to make a number of the classic Hip Hop records during late 80’s and early 90’s), but the best thing about the CTI Label is the music!  Many of the albums recorded between 1970 and 1975 have at least one or two really killer Jazz-Funk tracks and when you read the line up of musicians featured on many of those records you can see why they sound so good. Names like Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, Bob James, Joe Farrell, Idris Muhammad, Stanley Turrentine and Grover Washington Jr appear regularly on many of those albums. The production of Bob James is also what makes many of these albums stand out from other jazz-funk recorded during the same time. At times he can be a bit cheesy sounding but on the good tracks, the production is tight and sound is he achieves is instantly recognizable as the CTI sound and the best thing is that it still sounds fresh today.

So what I decided to do was highlight a few of the best ones I’ve come across, Ones that stand out as favorites, ones with breaks and others that are just really good to listen too! I thought I’d start with Joe Farrell’s “Upon This Rock”. The One with the famous drum breaks!

Joe Farrell released a hand full of albums on CTI and in my eyes they’re all pretty damn good too! “Upon This Rock” is the classic everyone wants because of the fat drum break intro on the title track ( first sampled by A Tribe Called Quest), but if you dig funky jazz then you’ll dig the music on this record too. “Seven Seas” is the other track that really stands out. It’s a super funky cut with a nice up tempo beat and one for the jazz dance crowd. Personally I Love it!

Below is a list featuring different tracks that have samples the drum break to great effect.

Upon this Rock” (Drum Samples)

A Tribe Called Quest’s “Verses from the Abstract”
Artifacts’s “What’s up Now Mother Fucker”
Black Sheep’s “Butt in the Meantime”
Black Sheep’s “Flavor of the Month”
Common’s “Chi-City”
Kanye West ft Cam’ron & Consequence’s “Gone”
Masta Ace’s “The Phat Kat Ride”
MF Doom’s “All Outta Ale”
People Under the Stairs’s “Wannabees”
Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “Searchin’”
Redman & Method Man’s “Run 4 Cover”


One thought on “Joe Farrell – “Upon This Rock” LP 1973 CTI Records

  1. Unfortunatly Joe Farrell isn’t mentioned much today but back in the day he was an inspiring musician who was able to cross over from hard bop to pop music to big band tenor star to fusion music pioneer…………not to mention he could play inside or outside and was a superlative woodwind doubler. Joe was also the first winner of the DOWNBEAT Magazine poll on Soprano Saxophone when the category was established in the late sixties.

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