Robert Walter Covers Eddie Harris, Melle Mel & Liquid Liquid + More For ‘Lagniappe Sessions’

By Nate Todd May 17, 2021 12:23 pm PDT

Renowned keyboardist Robert Walter recently reissued his 1996 solo debut album, Spirit of ‘70, and also returned to Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions for his third installment in the covers series. Walter offers up covers of Eddie Harris, Melle Mel & Liquid Liquid and more for his most recent Lagniappe Session.

Walter’s first 2021 Lagniappe entry is his interpretation of Melle Mel’s 1983 early hip hop anthem “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” which sampled “Cavern” by dance-punk group Liquid Liquid. Walter spoke about selecting the song with Aquarium Drunkard:

I have always been fascinated by the intersection of punk and rap music in late 1970s’ New York. This groove, originally by downtown no wave band Liquid Liquid, was used as the basis for Melle Mel’s anti-cocaine dance floor anthem “White Lines.” I borrowed from both for this version. I remember this sounding both irresistible and subversive when I first heard it as a kid. Something about the past year of no gigs made me want to make some dance music.

Robert also detailed his cover of jazz great and saxophonist Eddie Harris’ “1974 Blues”:

I have been playing this tune in various bands for years. Eddie Harris had an amazing way of using high concepts (like the odd time signature here) in a way that was never academic or cold. His playing and writing always had a heavy groove and connection to blues even on the craziest chord changes or sonic experiments. The use of a drum machine/synth on my version is a nod to his later records like “Is It In?” This is a fun challenge to improvise on.

Additionally, Walter delivered covers of Jackie Mittoo’s “Earthquake,” Rammellzee & K-Rob’s “Beat Bop” and Les Baxter & Martin Denny’s “Quiet Village.” Head over to Aquarium Drunkard to check out Robert Walter’s third Lagniappe Session.

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