Lou Donaldson: Alligator Bogaloo (1967) 2013

Alligator Bogaloo [1987]

Track list:

01. Alligator Bogaloo
02. One Cylinder
03. The Thang (Edit)
04. Aw Shucks
05. Rev. Moses
06. I Want A Little Girl


Melvin Lastin, Sr. – cornet;
Lou Donaldson – alto sax;
George Benson – guitar;
Lonnie Smith – organ;
Leo Morris – drums

Recorded: Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; April 7, 1967
Released: 1967
Label: Blue Note
BST 84263

Producer: Alfred Lion
Recording Engineer: Rudy van Gelder

Liner notes: Del Shields
Cover photo & design: Reid Miles

Mastered (2013): Bernie Grundman
Liner notes (2013): Dan Quellette


The success of the title track surprised Donaldson: “[W]e made the date and we were three minutes short.

I said we don’t have no more material.

And the guy said just play anything for three minutes so we can fill out the time.

So I just made the riff and naturally the guys could follow it.

That’s the only damn thing that sold on the record.”


Alligator Bogaloo is one example of Lou Donaldson’s successful combinations of hard bop and soul-jazz.

Of the six tunes, three are Donaldson originals, including the title hit.

The excellent band, consisting of Melvin Lastin, Sr. on cornet, George Benson on guitar, Lonnie Smith on organ, and Leo Morris on drums, mixes laid-back vamps beneath driving hard bop charts.

As the ’60s turned into the ’70s, Donaldson began shaving off hard bop invention for a more radio-friendly and 45 rpm length, leaving soulful yet monotonous vamping.

At that point, Donaldson’s material suffered from a lack of originality.

That’s not the case on Alligator Bogaloo.
~Al Campbell[]