This is a white soul group possessing a devilish way in establishing fundamental grooves and keeping to them, even during the balladic numbers. Right from the start, in Tired of Being Alone, the listener is pulled into the cadence and set to boppin' a la the old Sons of Champlin or Stoneground until the vocal portion drops out and you realize you were really hearing a Willie & the Hand Jive boogie crossed with an Allman Bros. fundament. A Good Fool is Hard to Find swings even harder, and then the Al Green element slides in on "Does Your Mama Know about Me", peppered with just a touch of jazzy Marshall Tucker as the cut closes out (especially in that uncredited flute—or is it a synth? If so, J.W. Belden has it down!).
Lead singer Julius Pittman also mans a righteous Hammond in a septet that includes three horns (and a generous session back-up ensemble). Though he can hit an emotional plane of rising urgency and plaintive wail, the atmosphere is smooth and cool. Guitarist Randy Moss could've been set loose a bit more often, carrying a really nice bite in his leads, but, then, no one's given too much, as the entire emphasis is on each song as a whole unit, a good formula keeping Pittman center stage, where the compositions concentrate. This is old Motown / Fillmore material and needs that ambiance.
Chicago, Tower of Power, and Jack Mack & the Heart Attack are cited as influences, but I also hear Rastus, Chase, Ambergris, Ballinjack, Mandrill, and a bunch of the neglected 70s horn rock bands as well. There is indeed a testifyin' vibe through the entire release so that, yes, Otis and Brother James Brown are quite vividly recalled, especially in intensities reached in Love Came out of Nowhere. I've noted elsewhere that the soul revival is on (catch the recent review of Tad Robinson [here]) and, given this and about a dozen other CDs across the last couple years, there are going to be a lot of new ears cropping up for the estimable old sound, so ease that Fairlane down the road, and someone see if they can't hunt Wolfman Jack and XERB up on the radio.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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