THE FINAL KENT YEARS compiles tracks from NOW! (1968) and LOVEMAKER (1978) and contains a rare single released in 1972.
Liner Note Author: Dick Shurman.
The last of Ace's three compilations devoted to Fulson's Kent product basically combines his late-'60s Now! album with his 1978 Lovemaker album, adding three unissued cuts and a 1972 single. Now! was actually comprised largely of 1967-1968 singles, and it's this material, which takes up the first half of the CD, that holds up best. It's loosey goosey late-'60s blues/soul crossover with a sassy attitude and adroit combinations of stinging blues guitar, strutting vocals, soulful horns, and organ, never heard better than on the opening "I'm a Drifter." Actually the Now! cuts sound better in this grouping than much of his slightly earlier '60s Kent stuff, because they're not as unduly repetitious, though they're filled out with cover versions of familiar tunes like "Funky Broadway," "Let's Go Get Stoned," and "Everyday I Have the Blues." Perhaps it wasn't cutting edge as far as late-'60s soul went, but it had some of the rawness of '50s electric blues and some of the slickness of late-'60s soul brass and B.B. King-like horn charts, and the combination usually clicked. Lovemaker, actually issued on the Big Town label (which like Kent was run by the Bihari Brothers), isn't as interesting. But it's respectable soul-blues, and not as inappropriately polished as the usual late-'70s recordings by blues veterans. The 1972 single "Let's Talk It Over" (aka "Come Back Baby")/"Worried Life" is passable, as are the three previously unissued tracks (including a remake of "Blue Shadows") that date from around the time of the Now! LP. ~ Richie Unterberger