Unearthed Gems is a series aiming to shed some light on obscure musical nuggets that deserve wider appreciation whether they are unreleased tracks, rare compilation joints or vinyl-only B Sides.
Let’s be honest: Voodoo is one of the greatest albums of the 20th Century. It’s captures one of soul music’s finest artists at the zenith of his powers, backed by some of the best musicians on the plants (see: Questlove, Roy Hargrove, James Poyser etc.), engineered by one of the best record producers of all time in Russ Elevado.
Almost as legendary are the demo sessions. The widely available bootleg “Voodoo: Outtakes & Rehearsals” gathers some of the more widely available leftovers (see the beautiful “Instrumental #1 in the player above). But there are a few rarer pieces out there if you dig deep enough. See this one for example:
Or this one which is a personal favourite:
Regardless of sound quality – or the fact that they’re effectively rehearsal tracks where D’Angelo and his musicians were searching for the next song – they’re indespensible records of one of the greatest soul albums of all time.
Here’s to hoping that the 20 year re-issue of Voodoo includes just a couple of these instrumental workouts…