Artur Menezes KEEP PUSHING

artur

Artur Menezes
KEEP PUSHING
Self-Release

A New Star For the Languid and Soulful End of the Blues World.

As usual I’d played this album two or three times before glancing at the accompanying Press Release and I’m mighty glad I did; because Brazilian guitarist and singer-songwriter Artur sounds quite dull when you read he is a ‘lead educator in The Blues’ and ‘co-founded a Blues Society’ but the music he creates is anything but dull!
There’s more than a sweet hint of BB King to the rolling opening track Now’s The Time which has a gripping story embraced by a swinging big band and some truly electrifying guitar solos from Menezes.
The Brazilian switches pace and style on the title track Keep Pushing which follows next; with some courageously jangly guitar breaks over a smoking Soulful backbeat that had me shuffling along in the living room the first two times it came on.
Obviously I love a good guitarist; it’s what I grew up listening to and Artur Menezes is up there with the very best at the moment; but KEEP PUSHING is chock full of exceptional songs if you get past his exceptional way with the magic box and listen to his words.
Should Have Never Left is a mighty cool ‘what if’ story that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Atlantic Records in the 1980’s and Give My Money Back also follows a Dark Soul path that only ever leads to t.r.o.u.b.l.e. and yet again I hear the ghost of BB King in not just the guitar licks; but the song itself.
The more I play this record the more I get from it and the more I’m impressed by each and every song, which nod to the past greats but generally takes those influences and fleshes them out in a new and very contemporary fashion……..Love ‘n’ Roll could have gone in a few different directions; but Menezes teases you with a heady mix of Blue Note guitar and organ but makes his song swing like a Tom cat on heat. Then there is Any Day, Anytime which started off like a homage to Robert Cray and George Benson but ends up being 100% Artur Menezes as the lady he’s singing to and about will surely testify!
There’s no longer any need for Singers like Artur Menezes to find a single for radio play; leaving them the freedom to let the songs take on the life nature intended and join together to make a cohesive long playing record; which this most definitely is; but there is one song in particular that stands out and easily became the RMHQ ‘Favourite Song’ and that is the beautiful Can’t Get You Out of My Mind; which funnily enough is a lot less dependant on the Brazilians’ incredible guitar skills than anything else and allows his velvety to voice to seduce all of us in the way singers like Brook Benton or Jeffrey Osborne have effortlessly managed for decades.
Late night lovers have a new theme tune!
Sooner or later someone will call their album 50 Shades of Blues, as I seem to say most weeks that The Blues does come in many many, different hues; each with their own merits but managing to divide fans like few other genres can.
Me? I’ve slowly grown away from the loud and raucous Blues Rock world and now find myself preferring to sit back and wallow in the more languid and soulful end of the Blues world; and it appears this Brazilian Guitarist and singer-songwriter is about to become something of a ‘go to’ guy at RMHQ when I need such a fix.

Released May 28th 2018
http://www.arturmenezes.com/2018/index.php?l=en

Advertisements

Dharmasoul LIGHTNING KID

dharmasoul v

Dharmasoul
LIGHTNING KID
self-release

A Grown Up Funky Alt. Jazz Hybrid to Sit Back and Savour.

You know us here at RMHQ, we have very eclectic musical tastes that defy most people’s imaginations, so when a CD arrived with a note attached describing the Duo/Band as ‘A funky Blues Groove from a Power-Folk duo with World Music, Hip-Hip, Blues and Rock influences’ how could we not give it a listen?
What’s the worst that could happen?
Wowza!
Opening track Chosen One certainly digs deep into every one of those influences; with more than a smattering of Funk and Blues too behind Jonah Tolchin’s sizzling guitar and Kevin Clifford’s spectacular tub-thumping as the band play on as if their lives depended on it. It’s not clear if it;s Jonah or Kevin singing; but here and on Bless Your Children which immediately follows there’s a distinct whiff of cool Blue Eyed Soul in that larynx.
Lost for words, all I can come up with for Taste So Sweet and Addiction is that they are the epitome of Cool; think some kind of weird hybrid between Lowell George, Jimmy Smith, Charlie Watts and a guitar duel between T Bone Walker and Jeff Beck!
Dharmasoul are both from New Jersey; but I can’t help but think this album was, or at least could have been recorded in New Orleans, Memphis or Muscle Shoals as there is a wonderful warm groove throughout that I normally associate with those fine musical cities; especially Open Your Heart and the gloriously meandering Love Again, which made me want to grab Mrs Magpie and slowly shuffle around the living room. (Thankfully I didn’t)
For a duo they certainly kick up a storm with the title track Lightning Kid, building up a dark and brooding sensory state that often threatens to boil over; but being the consummate professionals they are they tease the listener several times before a volcanic ending.
Favourite Track? Phew, that hasn’t been easy, mostly because every time I play the album something new grabs my attention and I want to choose that one for you; but tonight I’m plumping for Love Again because ….no no no……it’s got to be Armoured Hearts, one of two songs that subtly deal with Socio-Politics in such a clever and articulate manner you’d think someone like Randy Newman or James Taylor had a hand in the writing; but the didn’t.
I’ve not just thoroughly enjoyed this Grown Up album in the vein of Steely Dan or Barenaked Ladies; but been really impressed by it too, as just like discovering a New World wine there’s been a huge amount of fun thinking, “Aha…that bit….. comes from…..and ooh that guitar sounds like, or this bass lick is a probably from…..” but just like that glass of wine; you really should just sit back and flavour all of the constituent parts in all of their delicious glory.

Released 1st June 2018
https://www.dharmasoulband.com/

 

Keeshea Pratt Band BELIEVE

kesheea

Keeshea Pratt Band
BELIEVE
Self-Release

This Is What Rhythm and Blues Should Really Sound Like.

When I was growing up there was a definite line between Blues and Soul but in recent years that line has become ever more blurred; and with divine albums like this one it’s a very good thing in deed that is the case.
I’m not sure that I’d pick up the album in a record shop if I’d only seen the cover; but if opening track Make It Good was on their stereo or more so the radio I would hunt Heaven and Earth to find where such slinky and sensual goods came from.
Then when it is followed by the red hot groove of Have a Good Time Y’all you know you are in the presence of a glorious talent indeed.
The kids today don’t know what; but the Keeshea Pratt Band certainly do with tracks like Easily Replaced and Monkey See, Monkey Do virtually breaking your heart as they filter from the speakers in a way only a woman who has lived a life can deliver; and deliver the goods Keeshea Pratt does in aces.
Keeshea and her 8 piece band take us on a helter-skelter ride with dance tunes like Out of My Mind rubbing shoulders with the Country Blues of Home to Mississippi while dropping in musical time bombs like Shake Off These Blues with ease and, it has to be said Class with a capital C.
Just like life itself this album isn’t just about Good Times, as the title track Believe is as sad as either the Blues or Soul gets; but with a thread of hope all the way through each of the 5 wonderful minutes it is with us; and that’s just what I want to hear late at night.
Where to go for a Favourite Song? A slice of sensuous delight like In The Mood? The sizzling live version of So Bad Blues which closes the disc? Nope; I’m going for Can’t Stop Now, a beautiful heart string tugger that has shades not only of Etta, Aretha and Sharron but even the Allman Brothers Whipping Post in it too, but showcases a voice that is the one and only Miss Keeshea Pratt.
Discovering the delights of singers like Keeshea Pratt is one of the main reasons I do this malarkey; plying her trade around the Southern States but primarily Mississippi it would be a huge mistake for a woman and band with their undoubted talents to go unheralded around the world……and today is the day we are shouting the name Keeshea PRATT BAND from the rooftops……you heard it here first; don’t miss out……BUY THIS RECORD.

Released May 29th 2018
http://www.keesheapratt.com/

Walter Wolfman Washington MY FUTURE IS MY PAST

WALTER WOLFMAN WASHINGTON a

Walter Wolfman Washington
MY FUTURE IS MY PAST
Anti-Records

Spine Tingling and Intricately Simple Songs that Defy Categorisation.

I’ve really had to rack my brains here, as I was sure a) I had at least one album by Walter Wolfman Washington (I haven’t) or b) I’ve seen him live (again, I haven’t as he’s never played the Jumping Hot Club) so why did I know his name and why was I excited at hearing this album?
AHA! One song………I have ONE song by him; but what a song! Ain’t No Love In The Heart of The City was the major surprise on a VA album on Point Blank Records way back in 1991……but I still remembered it; now to hunt it out of the loft.
But until then there’s this amazing record.
You first hear Walter pour a drink before strumming a semi-acoustic guitar on opening song Lost Mind; and when his velvet tones filter from the speakers your heart will melt. Is this the Blues? Is it Jazz? Is it Soul? Yep……all three.
Apparently this is a new direction for 74 year old Washington; but I can’t vouch for that (obviously) so I’m just going with what I hear; and I hear a man channelling not just Sam Cooke but Al Green, Ray Charles and Nat King Cole too on a bunch of intricately simple songs that defy categorisation.
She’s Everything To Me features some stunning piano and again on I Cried My Last Tear; but nothing deflects from Washington’s beautiful delivery of some beautifully timeless words.
This my friends; is the perfect late night album for both seduction purposes and also sitting alone crying into your beer; with Walter’s interpretations of Save Your Love For Me and I Just Dropped By To Say Hello being perfect for both situations.
Oh man, oh man……oh man how cool is What a Difference a Day Makes? Every other version of this song is full of sweeping and swooping strings; but here Producer Ben Ellman let’s the words breathe alongside some jaw dropping bass from James Singleton which sounds like it replicates Washington’s heart beats as he makes the song his own.
While there is plenty of Rhythm to go alongside the Blues here; Walter never really gets past a stroll of a pace; although he does pick things up to a sexy strut on Steal Away and Johnny Guitar Watson’s I Don’t Want To Be a Lone Ranger too.
MY FUTURE IS MY PAST is a good old-fashioned Long Player; without the need for a Radio Single; making choosing a Favourite Track more difficult than usual; as each individual song perfectly melts into whatever follows; but the spine-tingling duet with Irma Thomas Even Now does stand out like a blood red poppy in a golden wheat field; so that’s what I’m going for.
Everything about this album oozes ‘Class,’ not just the selection of songs but the world class musicians that have been assembled to support Walter Wolfman Washington’s amazing voice; but the Album Cover itself should be enough to make you want to buy it; as you really can ‘judge an album by the cover’ in this instance.
Trust me; even if you have a passing interest in Blues, Jazz or Soul and even if you don’t but appreciate great music; don’t miss this record you will thank me for the tip.

Released UK May 25th 2018
Released USA April 20th 2018
http://www.walterwolfmanwashington.com/

 

My Top 10 #9 The Tymes

a CG16v2_

As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #9………

The Tymes – Ms Grace. A beautiful song that wasn’t popular among my long haired friends at the time; but the album it came from was the first Soul LP I ever bought.

My Top 10. #10 Jeffrey Osborne

a 60th-geordie-birthday-card-funny-brown-envelope

As it’s a major milestone for me on Friday April 20th I thought I’d do a sort of Top 10 of songs that have influenced me over that 60 years; or 55 years in musical terms!
As regular readers will know I have very eclectic taste which probably started in my childhood as the youngest of four brothers in the 1960’s.
My Mam loved Glenn Miller and the like and my Dad who had a good baritone voice, liked a good singer on the TV; but was very sceptical of modern ‘long haired’ music (cue Stereotype jokes).
Norman, my oldest brother was a Teddy Boy and played Elvis, Cliff and Marty Wilde 78’s whenever he was home from the Navy.
Brian was a bit of a Folkie who eventually introduced me to Blues Music via his massive record collection.
Melvyn was a Mod who loved the Who and Small Faces then evolved into a Dylan fan and the Singer-songwriters of the 1970’s…..which was an open door for what was to come in my later life.
Me? Born in 58 I was a child of the 70’s starting with T Rex and Slade singles which begat ‘Big Boys Music’with the Faces, Rory Gallagher and the Rolling Stones (which was actually a thread for all three younger siblings).
When you get to #1 on Friday you will realise that there are well over 100 other songs that have influenced me at one time or another but these 10 really are cornerstones to what you read on the Rocking Magpie on a daily basis.
So; here goes with #10………

Jeffrey Osborne, On The Wings of Love. I saw him on The Tube one Friday tea time and immediately ran out the following morning and bought both the album and 12″ single.
I still want this played at my funeral.

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages – SOUL FLOWERS of TITAN

BARRENCE D

Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
SOUL FLOWERS of TITAN
Bloodshot Records.

21st Century Rock & Roll So Raw Your Heart Will Bleed as Your Feet Dance.

This is possibly/probably Barrence Whitfield’s 20th album; yet hardly anyone I know has ever heard of him but whenever he comes to Newcastle the gig is Sold Out weeks in advance. How Bizarre
I only own two of his previous albums, and they are his most recent, plus a Best of CD that a mate lovingly compiled a few years ago when I had a radio show; and in fairness I can’t even remember the last time I played any of them……but…….here’s the thing, I can also bore you with the minutiae of his last four visits to Newcastle (including a never to be forgot aftershow party at the Schooner pub!).
(SPOILER ALERT) But, I think that this latest release will change all of that; not just for me…..but the world at large.
From what I know of those older albums; they’ve never quite captured the magic and excitement of seeing Barrence Whitfield and the Savages in full flow on stage in a hot n sweaty club somewhere on the wrong side of town.
Then, halfway through the rip snorting red hot Rock & Roll of opening song Slowly Losing My Mind I found myself thinking “How on earth can they capture this on stage?” Trust me….they will find a way.
Barrence sounds as menacing as ever but the Savages to a man; have never sounded ‘fuller’ on record…..they sound like The Blues Brothers on Amphetamines; if such a thing is possible!
That sound carries on right though the album; especially with track #2 Pain and later Adorable both reminding this listener why our parents and Grandparents were frightened of Rock & Roll when we first heard our Elvis, Gene Vincent and Little Richard records…..this is scary music kids…..but oh so much fun.
Don’t for a nano-second think that this is a regressive record; Hell no! I found myself thinking of the MC5 and the Damned too, as well as more recent rockers like Foo Fighters as I inadvertently danced around the office to I Can’t Get No Ride and Sunshine Don’t Make No Sun which makes band like the Flamin’ Groovies and Rocket From The Crypt sound like teenyboppers.
I have always thought of Barrence Whitfield as the last real torch-bearer for Rhythm & Blues; but here he delves into his Punk Rock; Blues Rock and at times even Heavy, Heavy Rock heritage as the band swing through all superficial genres like an invading army, sweeping aside all that comes before them.
It’s fair to say SOUL FLOWERS OF TITAN has also made me smile more than any other record I’ve played in at least a year with Tall, Black and Bitter shaking my personal cobwebs off but Tingling and I’ll Be Home Someday have both restored my faith in S.O.U.L Music; proving that it doesn’t have to be just exist the domain of singers like Bruno Mars and John Legend to be sexy……this man makes even my heart skip a beat when he pours his own heart out.
But; it’s the uptempo songs like Edie Please, Adorable and the wondrous Let’s Go To Mars that will make this record a firm favourite in the Rocking Magpie Mobile for many years to come.
Then of course, after all of my hyperbole there is also one more song that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with……and that is my ‘Favourite Track’………the richly beautiful ballad Say What You Want that closes the album. Ooohee……you can easily imagine Barrence dropping down onto one knee as he pleads….pleads….pleads with his lover as a B3 Organ leads the band on a trip that will never be forgotten; or at least not at RMHQ.
I’ve been blown away by this album, and especially when I play it very loud in the car (Mrs. Magpie has banned it from the living room btw) and it not just shows a powerful shot of self-confidence from not just Barrence and the band, but the label it’s released on; as this is as uncommercial as anything else on the Bloodshot label….but in a quirky way, could be his most commercial album for decades as the World has been waiting for a sound like this to shake it to the core and make it dance, dance, dance across the Summer months.

Released 2nd March 2018
http://barrencewhitfieldsavages.com/

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – THE LUCKIEST MAN

ronnie earl m

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
THE LUCKIEST MAN
Stony Plain Recording Co.

The Guitarist’s Guitarist Rides The Blues Train and Gets Off at Soulville.
My trusty I-Phone has done it again by finding this wonderful 12 track slice of pure damn righteous Rhythm, Blues and S.O.U.L…….with a side order of Blue Note Jazz too; without me even asking……such is the power of the ‘random button’.
I swear I thought that this was a George Benson album when the liquefied electric guitar of Ronnie Earl himself flowed from the car speakers on opening track Ain’t That Lovin’ You? and when Miss Diane Blue sexily purrs her lyrics out from the very bottom of her heart; yet again I knew I was onto another winner.
To all intents and purposes Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters are a 5 piece bar band; but from the photo on the inner sleeve and the list of Guest Musicians they are a very ‘fluid’ band indeed.
There are many things to like about this album; but first and foremost is Earl’s majestic way with a guitar……be it on the slow and sultry So Many Roads or the funky Southside Stomp when he duets with Dave Lamina on Hammond B3 or especially the Southern Gospel of Never Gonna Break My Faith he makes that guitar not just gently weep but wail and cry to the sky too, as Diane Blue sings her little heart out!
Once you get past the amazing guitar playing; there is Miss Diane Blue herself……gulp……swoon…..what a voice this lady has; not a million miles away from the late lamented Sharon Jones but with her very own distinctive singing style; and in my humble opinion under used here as she comes into her own though on the swinging Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me) and the Rev’d Gary Davis tune Death Don’t Have No Mercy which very nearly won the award of Favourite Song.
But this is very much a ‘guitar album’ very much in the vein of the Blue Note albums I own and; dare I say it…..BB KING.
Earl and the Broadcasters are quite sublime on late night instrumentals like Long Lost Conversation and their soulful strut on You Don’t Know What Love Is; but Earl really, really showcases his talents on Sweet Miss Vee and both Howlin’ Blues Southside Stomp; which are both exactly what it says on the tin.
THE LUCKIEST MAN is actually dedicated to the late Jim Mouradian, bass player and guitar maker who gets his very own track Jim’s Blues which reminded me of a George Harrison instrumental that I used to love; but can’t remember the name.
Then there is Blues For Magic Sam; a Blues Jam featuring some wonderful Hammond again; but it’s Earl’s sublime guitar playing against a backdrop of two Soulful saxophones and a spine tingling bass that makes this my favourite 5 and a half minutes here.
So, who actually is Ronnie Earl? Well, now I’ve finally read the Press Release this is his 25th album and he has played alongside (ACTUALLY alongside) BB King, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan plus a score of other legends……and here I am only discovering his music in 2018.
If you like the work of any of those legendary names, you are absolutely going to adore this album.

Released 16th February 2016
http://www.ronnieearl.com/home.html

Janiva Magness – LOVE IS AN ARMY

janiva

Janiva Magness
LOVE IS AN ARMY
Fathead Records/Blue Elan

Music That Transcends Both the Blues and Even Soul

Although this is Janiva Magness’ 14th album I only discovered her 4 years ago and have been slowly working my way through her back catalogue ever since; so was pretty damn excited to receive two copies of her latest release……one from her American PR and the other the European one.
As usual I have to start by explaining that the Blues comes in a million shades and Janiva Magness plys her trade in the cooler more Soulful end of the spectrum.
The opening track Back To Blue is a perfect example of why Janiva was a Grammy nominee in 2016, her distinctive velvety voice soars on an absolute heartbreaker that is perfect for people of a certain age who remember the halcyon days of Dusty Springfield and Aretha in their glory years.
Things get a little more spikier on the next track Hammer; with a punchy drumbeat fighting with Charlie Musselwhite on a sparkling harmonica as Janiva ‘shakes her thang’ as the band get in a groove well worthy of the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
As is the way when you have a reputation like Ms Magness a couple of guest stars make appearances on a couple of tracks; with the legendary Rusty Young supplying some sublime pedal-steel during On And On which is a bit of a departure for the Blues Diva; but not too far left of centre that it doesn’t fit in.
Delbert McClinton makes an appearance on the lonely love song What I Could Do; taking this duet into ‘timeless territory’ and just perfect for late night radio somewhere in Lonelyville.
RMHQ favourite Cedric Burnside brings his urban Roots specialities to Home; which has a choir of Angels backing the pair on a song so atmospheric you can virtually smell the flowers on the hills as Janiva gives the powerful lyrics everything she has in her armoury.
When I played this album in the car I found myself reaching for the dial to turn the volume up a couple of notches on Tell Me, What’s That Say About You and the Gospel drenched Some Kind of Love which finds the singer alone at a piano; not because they are ‘Rockers’ but because they all deserved to give me a sensory overload; that being simple background music wasn’t fair on Dave Darling’s sparkling production.
Where to go for a favourite song? Love To a Gunfight has to be a contender with its clever lyrics and story coupled with some sublime guitar from Dave Darling, but I’m going for the classy title track Love Is An Army. As everyone knows I’m a sucker for a love song; and this one oozes lurve like an oil slick; with the words and music and most importantly the way Janiva and Bryan Stephens weave their voices around each other the song transcends both the Blues and even Soul in the way only Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson managed many years ago.
A couple of months ago I got into a heavy debate about Artistes ‘recording the same album over and over again’ versus ‘Artistes constantly changing direction and challenging themselves.’ I fall into the latter camp and find myself being proud of Janiva Magness for having the courage to make an album that is distinctively a Janiva Magness album (what else could it be with ‘that voice’?) but creating individual songs that may be out of her core fans comfort zone; although I certainly think all of their preconceptions should disappear the second time they play this album.
Here’s my forecast……..Grammy Nominee in 2016……Grammy WINNER in 2018!

Released 23rd February 2018
http://www.janivamagness.com/

Mama SpanX STATE OF GROOVE

mama spanx c

Mama SpanX
STATE OF GROOVE
Self-Release

A Red Hot and Timeless Blend of Feisty Female Rhythm, Blues, Funk and S.O.U.L

This album has very nearly gone into the Oxfam box twice in recent weeks; not because it’s no good but simply because it arrived in October 2017 when Mrs Magpie was rushed into hospital and I didn’t do any reviews for a couple of months and the 2018 pile of CD’s is growing like Topsy every day.
But……this is far too good a record to give away and in my humble opinion deserves a much wider audience than the hirsute hipsters of Jesmondia near Newcastle.
First of all I’m not too sure I like the striking artwork on the album cover; but in it’s defence it does ‘sum up the contents’ extremely well! What you see is what you get……a red, hot and timeless mix of feisty female Rhythm, Blues, Funk and S.O.U.L
With no preconceptions at all, apart from trusting the PR who sent the disc……..my stomach spun like a turbo fan the first time I heard opening track ROCKET!
Oh Lordy Lord….everything I love about R&B and Soul Music is here…..and MORE! Nikki Armstrong aka Mama SpanX has a warm, velvety and expressive vocal style and her band The Spankers (ooh, err Missus!) Rock, Roll and Swing like a cross between The Swampers and Count Basie’s Big Band……and that’s only a slight exaggeration.
Seeing me making a cup of coffee earlier Mrs. Magpie giggled “What are you doing?” As I was shuffling my feet and actually ‘shaking my thang’ as Wild Emotion filtered out of the office speakers on the other side of the house. Caught in the act; I kept on dancing regardless of how silly I looked; it’s that good a song and too good an opportunity to miss, regardless of the location.
When she wasn’t watching I secretly danced again to the Funkylicious Being Beautiful and Alligator Boogaloo and then again on the title track State Of Groove; because that’s what this music is for……DANCING and you will too.
Mama SpanX can get low down and dirty too by the way; with Crawl and Thinkin’ being the sort of late night Bluesy/Soul crossover that is perfect for both seduction purposes and also crying your heart out into your beer when it all goes horribly wrong!
Before I get onto my ‘favourite track’ I have to heap copious praise on the Spankers; without whom this album wouldn’t be half as good….Harlan Spector’s keyboard playing is exceptional and holds the whole sound together and the horn section ….Steve Sadd and Julie Sax make a big, big sound worthy of the best in Memphis; and Ross Mullen on a six string fretless bass (?) alongside drummer David Abercrombie combine to create controlled thunder in the background while Steve Johnson provides virtual lightning on guitars throughout.
As I say I love the dance tunes here; but the two songs that tie for ‘favourite track status are the Power Ballad Wrong Side of the Garden; which is a thrill a minute and promises to be a guaranteed showstopper when sung live; yet the other finds Nikki Armstrong singing the lyrics to the heart breaking Anywhere You Are over a very gently played piano. Simple, yet emotionally destructive……just like Soul music should be.
Where do I start and stop comparing the Mama SpanX ‘sound’? Classic acts as diverse as Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Tower of Power and even Sly and the Family Stone sprung to mind at various times playing this record; but so did RMHQ Favourites the James Hunter Six and of course the late lamented Miss Sharon Jones of Daptone Records fame……and Mama SpanX and the Spankers could easily sit comfortably in any of that company.

Released October 31st 2017
http://www.mamaspanx.com