Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Soul Time! CD - Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings have developed an international reputation as the #1 group on today's soul scene. Soul Time! is an exploration of the full range of their dynamic sound through twelve songs handpicked by the Daptone Records gang, each one a precious exclusive.
The needle drops on Genuine Pts. 1 & 2, a supercharged funk arrangement that evokes the late Godfather not only with the spirited syncopation of the Dap-Kings rhythms, but also with the raw power of Jones' voice. It is performances such as these that have earned her the moniker "the Female James Brown." Though it has long been one of their best-selling singles, it makes it's album debut here. Longer and Stronger, written for her 50th birthday, is a deep mid-tempo soul celebration of the strength and determination with which Sharon Jones has earned her long overdue success. It is heard here for the first time, but will undoubtedly join other Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings songs in the canon of great soul music. The theme of empowerment pushes on through "He Said I Can", an energetic stomper belted over an arrangement reminiscent of the Isley Brothers early-seventies heyday, and "I'm Not Gonna Cry" brings us back to the raw funk intensity of Genuine with a squealing tenor solo and a fiery vocal. Side one wraps with a scorching studio performance of "When I Come Home", long a highlight of the band's live show but rearing its head on album here for the first time as well.
"What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?" kicks the second side off with a bang. A strong anti-war message pours over a revolutionary mid-tempo groove, accentuated by the conga work of the legendary Johnny Griggs of JB's fame, while Settling In is a greasy rhythm and blues grinder. And who says Christmas can't be soulful? Jones et al. make it so over their sought after holiday exclusive, "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects." Next is an energetic romp into Motown intensity with "New Shoes", a walking-out-the door belter that picks up where These Boots Were Made For Walking left off. Without A Trace shows yet another dimension of the band, stretching a dreamy mid-tempo groove down the road to Memphis and back. The record winds up with a deep laid back cover of Shuggie Otis' psychedelic soul jam "Inspiration Information." From the first note to the last, Soul Time! confirms this band's place at the head of the table as the world's greatest funk and soul showband. Whether you're a lifetime fan, or just getting turned on, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' have yet again made a record that will blow your mind. Get ready world, because It's Soul Time!
Cornmeal - Live in Chicago Vol 2 CD
The Heavy Pets - Swim Out Past the Sun CD - The Heavy Pets (THP) are an American rock band whose contagious vibe blends rhythm and blues, jazz-funk and reggae fusion with rock and roll. Called “a living, breathing, force of nature” by Relix, THP are known for powerhouse live performances, and their self-titled album was dubbed a “Top 10 Album of 2010” by The Huffington Post. On Swim Out Past the Sun (2011), THP's guitar duo set aside their electric axes for a more organic approach, including three song sit-in by David Grisman.
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood - In Case the World Changes Its Mind - Live (2CD) A double-live album featuring guitar guru John Scofield and genre busting improvisational jazz trio Medeski Martin & Wood.
Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood first recorded together on Scofield's A Go Go (Verve 1998), a project that united the group on material composed by Scofield and interpreted by all four musicians.
In 2006, MSMW collaborated again on OUT LOUDER (Indirecto Records), a jam-packed release full of irresistible grooves and spontaneous improvisation. OUT LOUDER was a genuine four-way collaboration between Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood. "A Go Go was John's record and we were essentially sidemen, where OUT LOUDER musically comes from all of us," explains Wood. Scofield adds that much of the material was composed when the foursome "would play free stuff, listen back, make a song out of it, and then go back with that idea in mind and play free again."
OUT LOUDER exhibits a raw and edgy sound that is embedded in the foundations of jazz, funk and blues. It is described as "funky, brash and sometimes downright beautiful," by All About Jazz and Down Beat notes "the disc serves as a jamming fun time of dance-friendly excursions, sonically pleasing FX'd textures and the requisite unpredictable swerves and swoops that MMW typically delivers."
Dumpstaphunk - Everybody Want Sum CD - Quick. Think of the worst smelling spot in New Orleans. Funkier than that one unfortunate spot of land at The Fly right behind the elephant patch at the Audubon Zoo. Think the intersection of Bourbon and Conti during Mardi Gras, and then think of the receptacles those trash heaps get thrown into.
Dumpstaphunk is that funky.
Right off the bat, the verses in the opener “Sheez Music” trigger memories of Brothers Johnson’s “Ain’t We Funkin’ Now” with the involuntary leg motions to match. Most folks by now know the sheer power of Dumpstaphunk’s live show, but this track and others here sound huge coming out of the Maple Leaf’s house speakers between sets at their Sunday crawfish boils.
Some might take the Neville bait and compare Everybody Want Sum to the Meters’ later Warner Brothers albums, New Directions and Trick Bag, but a better comparison would be with the city’s other seminal ’70s funk outfit, Chocolate Milk. Like that great group, I thought I liked it most when the band sits back and slinks along in the pocket, as in the third song, “Do Ya.” The tempo lends itself to drummer Raymond Weber’s backbeats and the punchy horns that accent the bridges. But my preference might just be correlation. Ivan Neville’s clavinet and keyboard playing make the track a standout, and it makes you stand up at attention when they burst from that into “Gasman Chronicles” at a velocity faster than the vibrations of one of Nick Daniels’ bouncing bass strings. Raymond Weber plays drums on this workout like a funk robot programmed with Swiss precision to play 150 bpm breakbeats. If you make it through all five-plus minutes you’ll be doing that James Brown grunt, too.
If the album were a Dumpstaphunk concert at Tip’s, the song “Oughta Know Better” is when you would walk to one of the bars and replace your beer. But much of that feeling is impatience to get to the Zigaboo Modeliste-penned “Standin’ in Your Stuff,” and especially to its ascending-to-descending harmonies in the chorus. The guest horn section is a welcome addition on this one, lending those choruses, breaks, bridges and transitions even more muscle, like a sixth 400-pounder on an offensive line.
Bottom line—this is a party album. It’ll sound great when someone plays it on St. Charles before a Mardi Gras parade. The feelings of party records often get separated into those that are straightforward/earnest versus others that are ironic/removed, and it seems obvious where Everybody Want Sum stands. But how about this detail: the Producer credit went to Morgus the Magnificent. - OffBeat Magazine
Also available: Dumpstaphunk - Listen Hear CD
* Dec 29 - Jan 2 - Bond-Fire Arts & Music Festival - Groveland, FL
*Look for the Home Grown Music Booth at this event!
Video of the Week:
Assembly of Dust - Second Song (live acoustic)
Thanks for reading! Treat yourself to some good music this week.