JAMES BROWN - IT'S A MOTHER
A definite mother from James Brown – the kind of all-funky album that few of his contemporaries could ever hope to match! If you've ever doubted the sheer raw power of James at the end of the 60s, the first few notes of this one will definitely make you a convert – and the stretched-out grooves as the album rolls on will pull you even further into the fold. Most tracks roll on with that improvised studio jamming style that James was hitting at the time – a pre-JBs mode that's not as long as later years, but which still makes you feel that there probably was plenty more recorded on the dates that didn't make it into the two-part versions of the tracks! And although James is singing on most numbers, the real focus is more on the band – hitting hard, vamping sharp, and grooving massively under shouted calls and directions from Brown. Titles include two great instrumentals – "Popcorn With a Feeling" and "Top of the Stack" – plus "Little Groove Maker Me (parts 1 & 2)", "Mother Popcorn (parts 1 & 2)", "Mashed Potato Popcorn (parts 1 & 2)", "Any Day Now", "You're Still Out Of Sight", and "I'm Shook" – as well as the great mellower number "If I Ruled The World" – redone here as an African-American anthem of pride and power! (Limited edition.) ~ Dusty Groove
ALISON CROCKETT - MOMMY, WHAT'S A DEPRESSION?
Maybe the strongest, boldest album we've ever heard from Alison Crockett so far – a record that has the singer bursting forth with a sense of power that really blows away her previous albums! The album's a great reminder of Crockett's place in the soul underground over the past decade or so – and the record's got an even tighter conception than we might have expected – proud words in the lyrics from Alison, supported by great backings from Teddy Crockett too – with a small group lineup that also includes piano from both Orrin Evans and Marc Cary. And although the original songs are very powerful, the album also features some stunning remakes of other work – by Syreeta, Eden Abez, and even Bessie Smith – but done in ways that completely transform the tunes, and instantly make them Alison's own. Ursula Rucker guests on a few tracks – and titles include "Gentrification", "Depression", "My Man's Gone Now", "Ima Hustla", "Trouble In The Lowlands", "The Old Country", "Come Back As A Flower", and "Sack Full Of Dreams". ~ Dusty Groove
KENNY WESLEY - THE REAL THING
The first full album we've heard from Kenny Wesley – a singer with a heck of a great vocal range, and a strong sense of personality too! The album's got a depth that goes way past the goofy image on the cover – as Wesley brings a jazz vocal sense of range to his singing, but mixes things with a heavier funk approach too – some bassy bits and tight drums that keep the tunes tight and snapping, but never in a way that's poppy or commercial. Instead, the whole thing bristles with freshness – just the right sort of album to announce Kenny as a bold newcomer, with a vibe that's all his own. Titles include "The Real Thing", "Taffy", "Feels Good", "The Window", "Closer", "Woman", "Tangled", "Sophisticated", and "Missin You". ~ Dusty Groove