The bold, ambitious Down to Earth represents Eddie Floyd’s most daring break from the classic Stax sound. Produced and arranged in collaboration with the great Steve Cropper, its muscular soul sound draws heavily on psychedelic rock sensibilities, favoring extended jams, mutating tempos, and thick, bubbling rhythms. Cropper’s scorching guitar is as much a focal point as Floyd’s raw, desperate vocals. Together they transform Curtis Mayfield’s aching “People Get Ready” into electric kool-aid gospel, while the blues-rock epic “When the Sun Goes Down” owes as much to Cream as Willie Dixon. If anything, Down to Earth proves too radical a departure, pushing Floyd so far afield that critical elements feel forced and inauthentic. Still, when the risks pay off (e.g., the lysergic-minded “Linda Sue Dixon”), the record soars.
A1 People Get Ready 4:44
A2 Linda Sue Dixon 3:54
A3 My Mind Was Messed Around At The Time 3:30
A4 When The Sun Goes Down 5:46
B1 Salvation 5:29
B2 I Only Have Eyes For You 3:13
B3 Tears Of Joy 5:09
B4 Changing Love 6:29
Review by Soulmakossa
Eddie Floyd went for something different in ’71… and man does it rock!
Heavy guitars set off a chaotic, slightly psychedelic, thumping version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready“: Stretched to almost five minutes, there’s a considerably Southern Rock feel to the tune, which also features a plodding bass solo and an overall greaziness that would not have been out of place on releases by such bands as the Buddy Miles Express, Blood Sweat & Tears and early Parliament.
What follows may well be even weirder: Sir Mack Rice’s clever “Linda Sue Dixon“: Set to another pacey, bouncing groove, Floyd sings of a woman that gets him so high he’ll just name her LSD. What tops off the craziness is the violin-on-acid soloing throughout.
Immediately afterward, Floyd makes plain just what drugs can do to you on the rocking, frantic “My Mind Was Messed Around at the Time” – a tune written by himself along with Steve Cropper and Sir Mack Rice.
The A-side ends on a creepy note with the gospelish, witnessin’ belter “When the Sun Goes Down“. A full-throttled vocal by Floyd here proves just how powerful the man’s voice really was. The distorted bluesy guitar riffs and hot buttered horns turn this into a ‘testafyin’ at the juke joint’ bit that’s just INSANELY funky.
The sweaty, greasy, down home flavour is swiftly revisited on side B, which opens with the lazy, laidback and guitar driven rocker “Salvation“, after which thangs finally cool down a bit with the sweet, almost ’50-ish throwback R&B styled “I Only Have Eyes for You“.
The same pretty much goes for Eddie’s solo composition “Tears of Joy“, a dreamy ballad that is neatly orchestrated with more gospel-styled piano and a reoccuring horn riff that sounds strangely “Penny Lane“-esque.
But the album ends the way it started, with another super funky, blasting piece of heavenly soulful rock. “Changing Love” has a wicked groove that reminds me of some of Buddy Miles’ hardest funk waxings. Aside that, there’s some very appealing guitar soloing runnin’ through the entire song while those fabulous Memphis Horns cook up another tasty stew that place this tune firmly in the fertile grounds of Southern Soul. Amazing stuff…