Thursday, April 04, 2013



The amazing return of the Shaolin Temple Defenders – a group who've really deepened their sound since we last heard from them! On previous albums, the Defenders were a razor-sharp funk combo – a French ensemble who'd really studied the funky 45 underground of the late 60s and early 70s – and definitely knew how to get that sound right! This time around, they've also picked up a deep soul vibe as well – bringing vocals into the mix even more strongly than before – sung by Brother Lion with this raspy style that feels like some of the best southern soul at the start of the 70s. The funky currents of the group are still firmly in place – sometimes with a heavy 70s twist, sometimes with a more laidback vibe that lets the vocals take center stage – and titles include "Blue Shades", "Do You Remember", "Spirit Of The South", "Temple Of Soul", "Super Nacho Funk", "Let Your Love Shine On Me", "It's So Easy", "Our Love Will Live Forever", and a cover of "Kung Fu Fighting". (Includes free MP3 download.) ~ Dusty Groove


Damn amazing work from Charles Bradley – an instant soul classic for all generations, as you'll hear from the very first note! Not only are Bradley's vocals incredible – the kind of once-in-a-long-time approach he brought to his debut – but the backings and production are completely sublime too – magical music from the Menahan Street Band, who sound here like some lost combo from 60s Memphis, but without any of the hoke that reference might imply – instead that really unique approach that you'd only find on one of your few favorite vintage soul albums – maybe Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, or Jesse James on his 60s album for 20th Century! Yet the sound here isn't just vintage for vintage sake, either – as there's an intensity that's very present, contemporary, and urgent – a sound that doesn't die – and which just gets better and better with each new listen. Tremendous stuff – even from the Daptone universe we've been loving for years and years – with titles that include "Strictly Reserved For You", "You Put The Flame On It", "Dusty Blue", "Love Bug Blues", "Hurricane", "Through The Storm", "Confusion", and "Where Do We Go From Here". (Includes free download.)  ~ Dusty Groove


Ronnie Cuber's an overlooked monster in jazz – a hell of a player, and has been for decades – and one of the last few cats who can really handle a baritone sax! Cuber was late in a legacy of baritonists that included Pepper Adams, Sahib Shihab, Cecil Payne, and Lars Gullin – a youngster when all those players were getting old, but more than able to swing with the lean energy that made the 50s baritone sax players as important as the giants on tenor! Here, Cuber really demonstrates that legacy strongly – picking up the giant horn and handling it with effortless ease – producing these beautifully-blown solo lines that are nice and long, and filled with imagination – in the company of a combo that features Kenny Drew Jr on piano, Ruben Rodriguez on bass, and Ben Perowsky on drums. The recent date is a great reminder that Cuber can still cook heavily – and titles include "Passion Fruit", "Coco B", "Perpetuating The Myth", "Tell Me A Bedtime Story", and "Arroz Con Pollo". ~ Dusty Groove

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