It's rare that a certain sound is entirely an artist's own. Although undeniably a stew of impeccable influences – from blues to folk to Latin to dusty funk, soul and hip-hop – you cannot hear a Tommy Guerrero song without immediately recognising it as his - and his only.
As for Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues, Tommy Guerrero's sublime debut masterpiece, the legendary skater himself says: "my 1st album. It was never meant to be released. I was just recording for the fun of it.. still my fave. Oh so naive..." And you know what? It's definitely Be With's fave too. An astonishingly great record. A chill, blissful, deeply moving album, it was rightly garlanded as an instant classic.
A laidback, fusionistic ride replete with loopy drum tracks underpinning Tommy's trademark reflective guitar stylings, Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues remains powerfully evergreen. Originally released in 1997, there's elements of jazz, trip hop, rock and downtempo groove. All shot through with a heavy dose of soul. Thirteen tracks of lo-fi (mostly) instrumental freshness fused with Cuban, Latin and blues, it's a must for fans of Money Mark, J Dilla, RJD2, DJ Shadow and Pete Rock. As ever with Tommy's records, the title sums up the music contained within most aptly. And writing about his songs, his vibes, is one of the trickier things to do, it has to be said. It's just all gorgeous!
A total vibe throughout, to blast Loose Grooves & Bastard Blues is a majestic experience, one that suits a start-to-finish listen and renders the picking out of highlights totally redundant. Featuring nagging, deeply melodic guitar lines - both electric and acoustic - over simple rhythms with such sumptuous elegance, the hypnotic playing against unrushed percussion releases a crystal clear stream of healing frequencies. Just divine. This album laid the blueprint from which Tommy Guerrero would subsequently explore further on A Little Bit of Somethin' and Soul Food Taquiera.
Meticulously remastered and cut by both Simon Francis and Cicely Balston respectively, it has been pressed to the highest possibly quality at Record Industry in Holland. The original and iconic sleeve, designed by Natas Kaupas, has been restored here at Be With HQ as the finishing touch to this long overdue re-issue.