Bernard Fowler

Bernard Fowler

Bernard Fowler

Inside Out

Rhyme & Reason Records

If you don’t recognize the name, you may recognize the voice. Bernard Fowler has been on the New York music scene for decades. Back in the day, he sang with Tackhead and jazz/funk visionaries, Material. Since then, he’s been a voice for hire for everyone from Philip Glass, Herbie Hancock, Yoko Ono and Public Image Ltd. Since 1988, Bernard Fowler has been part of the extended Rolling Stones family. Inside Out finds Fowler stripping mostly deep tracks from the Stones catalogue and reconstructing them as mutant funk meditations.

In Fowler’s hands, “Sister Morphine” becomes a downtown jazz standard by way of Tom Waits. Fowler intones the lyric over a funk groove. His voice floats over the rhythms with a Miles Davis inflected trumpet playing tag. “Sympathy for the Devil” is driven by congas and minimal piano. Sure, they’re recognizable as Stones songs, but it’s a totally new way of hearing it.

“Undercover of the Night” is turned into a Last Poets-style recitation. The words sound like a stream of consciousness tour of the underbelly of NYC. Crooked cops and hustlers square off on the streets while Sonny Rollins blows his horn on the Brooklyn Bridge. “All the Way Down” becomes a greasy funk number sounding like something from a Pam Grier movie playing in a grindhouse on The Deuce. “Time Waits for No One” takes on a Gill Scott Heron fronting War vibe.

I really appreciate what Fowler does on Inside Out. Tribute albums to a particular artist are pretty common these days. Fowler deconstructs and reconstructs these Stones songs and really makes them his own. Bringing new life and new ways of hearing songs takes the cover song from the common to the extraordinary.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • General Magic
    General Magic

    General Magic invented the smart phone in 2002, but just couldn’t get it to market. That’s just how they rolled.

  • Blue October
    Blue October

    Alternative 90s rockers Blue October rolled into Central Florida for a two-night run at House of Blues, and Michelle Wilson was blown away.

  • Pahokee

    Pahokee produces sugar cane and poverty, but some the brighter students might make it to the big time with a college degree and a new zip code.

  • Sumo Princess
    Sumo Princess

    When An Electric Storm. (Educational Recordings) Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Laura Valle
    Laura Valle

    Charismatic. Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Ramen Shop
    Ramen Shop

    A young man searches for the secrets of his family and great Ramen.

  • Southern Avenue
    Southern Avenue

    Keep On (Concord Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Don Felder
    Don Felder

    Don Felder took music fans down Eagles’ memory lane at Disney Epcot’s® Garden Rocks Concert Series, and Michelle Wilson loved every nostalgic moment of it.

  • Alfred Sergel IV
    Alfred Sergel IV

    Alfred Sergel IVtet (The Tam Tam Group). Review by Stacey Zering.

  • Tanika Charles
    Tanika Charles

    The Gumption (Record Kicks). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

From the Archives