Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Hallelujah Brothers and Sisters! These Boys have got Soul (and Gospel and Country!)
I’d not heard of Nathaniel Rateliff two weeks ago; then three regular readers of this site all got in touch to ask why I’d not reviewed this album. Apparently it got a rave review in a National newspaper and they all thought it would be up my/our street. Intrigued I did some research and when I saw the album was on Stax I went into over drive; finding and contacting his UK PR.
Well, my friend, without spoiling the review for you – the hard work was worth it because this album is a rare gem.
Hailing from Denver, Colorado and gradually working their way out of the local gig circuit, this is the band’s fourth album in ten years; so whatever happens this is no ‘over night success story’ more a tale of hard work paying off.
The album opens with a tight Booker T inspired sassy Soul horn section before Rateliff’s burning drawl kicks in and the groove instantly grows. What a voice this guy has – lazily I can compare him to Paolo Nutini but with better diction. That apart the voice is what the experts call ‘distinctive.’
My American geography may not be as good as it should be; but this beautiful Soul inspired music is very ‘Southern’ in the way everything is constructed and delivered; and it is no surprise that Stax have picked up on it. This album shouldn’t really be on any other label.
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats are really at their best when they provide a subtle soundtrack to late at night when you have ‘things on your mind,’ which is a rarity in music these days. There’s a slow swing feel to I’ve Been Falling, Shake and Wasting Time, coupled with Rateliff’s softly expressive voice making them just the right side of sexy.
The song that is the most memorable is S.O.B – a Gospel inspired opening soon catches fire and the band sounds like the best thing that ever came out of Beale Street as Rateliff takes the role of a fire and brimstone preacher on a song that has all the hallmarks of becoming a game changer for the band. Powerful stuff indeed.
The album closes with Mellow Out; which is exactly what it says on the label; a lovely slow Summertime classic; with a chilled out organ and Dinner-Jazz style drumming as Rateliff takes us off into a dreamy world that is filled with cocktails and hammock with our name on them.
What a joy this has been. I can’t recommend it highly enough as it will be high on my own holiday playlist for years to come; and also come out on miserable days when I need to pretend that the sun is shining.
Released June 15th 2015