1/  I Belong In the U.S.A.                     (Ulmer)                       6.40
  2/  Lady Blue                                  (Ulmer)                       6.17
  3/  After Dark                                 (Ulmer)                       6.18
  4/  Show Me Your Love, America                 (Ulmer)                       7.24
  5/  Black Sheep                                (Ulmer)                       3.44
  6/  Wings                                      (Ulmer)                       5.31

          Recorded at Power Station, Quadrosonic and RPM, New York City
          Engineer at the Power Station: Steve Rinkoff
          Engineer at Quadrosonic: Robert Musso
          Engineer at RPM: Mike Krewiak
          Mixed by Steve Rinkoff at the Power Station
          Administration: Roger Trilling
          Produced by James Blood Ulmer and Bill Laswell
          Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
James Blood Ulmer: guitar, vocals; Bill Laswell: 4, 6 and 8 string basses; Ronald Shannon Jackson: drums; Nicky Skopelitis: 12 string guitar, banjo; Bernard Fowler, Fred Fowler and Muriel Fowler (4): background vocals.

          1987 - Blue Note (France), BT-85136 (Vinyl)
          1987 - Blue Note (USA), CDP-7-46755-2 (CD)


An odd but very effective album, this release under Ulmer's name could almost have been issued under Bill Laswell's, so strong is the producer's (and bassist's) presence. With Ronald Shannon Jackson in tow alongside Laswell stable regular Nicky Skopelitis, this sounds more than a little like several of Laswell's late-'80s multicultural discs. The gorgeous pre-chorus line in "Show Me Your Love, America," for instance, sounds like nothing previously written by Ulmer and makes one wonder. Although one would think that this would play against Ulmer's strengths (his rawness and irregularity, for two), it makes for a strangely satisfying effort, corralling the guitarist into a somewhat more relaxed mode where the concentration is more on his vocals and song structure than on his guitar work. His singing here is perhaps the best its ever been, still very indebted to Hendrix in both the soft texture of his voice and, especially, in the casualness of his phrasing, but he injects more than enough of his own persona to create a perfect match to his harsh guitar. Jackson and Laswell are both in fine form throughout, providing a rich, varied underpinning for Ulmer's excursions, even if those excursions are a bit more reined-in than listeners had come to expect. The album ends up sounding polished but not slick, each composition standing solidly and offering varied pleasures. Different from Odyssey but situated alongside it as one of Ulmer's best.

Brian Olewnick (courtesy of the All Music Guide by way of the Get Music website)