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Love Bug (1969)

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Idris Muhammad

Love Bug was an attempt to establish Reuben Wilson as an organist with either the vision of Larry Young or the fiery style of John Patton, and while it comes up short on both accounts, it nevertheless remains quite enjoyable. Working with an impressive backing band of guitarist Grant Green, trumpeter Lee Morgan, tenor saxophonist George Coleman, and drummer Idris Muhammad, Wilson leads his band through a number of soul-jazz workouts, none of which ever really catch fire. Instead of working tight, funky grooves, the quintet tends to spiral off into vaguely experimental territory, which loses sight of the spirit of the song. Still, Green has a number of shining moments, as does Morgan and Coleman -- in fact, they tend to overshadow Wilson, who nevertheless turns in a fine performance. Nevertheless, there are flashes on Love Bug, particularly on "Hot Rod" and the bonus track "Hold on, I'm Comin'," that demonstrate the organist coming into his own. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine