Personnel: Rahsaan Roland Kirk (vocals, tenor saxophone, flute, whistle, percussion); Princess Patience Burton, Cissy Houston (vocals); Charles McGhee (trumpet); Dick Griffin (trombone); Sonelius Smith, Richard Tee (piano); Mickey Tucker (organ); Billy Butler, Cornell Dupree, Keith Loving (guitar); Henry Pearson, Bill Salter (bass); Khalil Mhrdi, Bernard Purdie (drums); Arthur Jenkins (congas, cabasa); Richard Landrum (congas); Joe Habad (percussion).
Recorded at Atlantic Studios and Regent Sound Studios, New York, New York
between August 31 and September 8, 1971. Originally released on Atlantic (1601).
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Like his 1968 album VOLUNTEERED SLAVERY, most of BLACKNUSS consists of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's idiosyncratic interpretations of pop songs, including a soulful "Ain't So Sunshine" featuring Kirk simultaneously singing and playing the flute; bluesy versions of the Motown classics "What's Goin' On/Mercy Mercy Me," "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "My Girl"; and even a relaxed take on Bread's soft-pop hit "Make It With You." Though jazz interpretations of pop songs are often slight and shallowly commercial, Kirk's obvious fondness for the songs themselves ignites his typically emotional reedwork, passionate even when he's playing several instruments simultaneously. The pop songs are given an added gravity by the album's two stand-out tracks, a glorious take on the gospel standard "Old Rugged Cross" preceded by Kirk's fervent sermonizing, and the anthemic title track, a drawling blues jam punctuated by the vocals of Kirk and Cissy Houston and some sterling piano by Sonelius Smith.