Coincidentally enough, I find a lot of affinities between MonkeyJunk and Jim Suhler & Monkeybeat, much of it embedded in a chunkita-chunkita hard bluesrock style invaded with deep Texas soul. MonkeyJunk's Ottawa'an (Canadian, y'all), but trust me, them boys is soakin' in good ol' Tejas in-your-face brashness along with Allmans-y Georgia swamps and 70s rave rock, just like all the best. But wait a minute, they also have a funky-ass Sly Stone vibe to 'em as well, shown like a motherfucker in, heh!, Je Nah Say Kwah (well hell, 'Serve Ray ler Maired!', gentz…or is that 'Sir Vray ler Maired'?, I can never get my franglish straight!), and, like Suhler 'n da boyz, MonkeyJunk's a trio that pushes the sound to its borders.
When I say 'trio', I mean "trio", as in: there ain't no famous damn guests, no sessioneers, no no-one else but Matt Sobb on drums ('n b. vox), Tony D on lead guitar ('n b. vox), and Steve Marriner on baritone guitar, keyboards, a very mournful piercing harp, and lead vocals. That's right, no four-string axes allowed, and they do just fine without 'em, Marriner favoring the lower end of his baritone, straddling the divide. The band specializes in dirty, low-down, irresistible rhythms and beats made all the greasier by Tony D's slide work.
Marriner brings to mind all kinds of influences. As I listen to Yearnin' for Yesterday and Once had Wings, I'm catching the bluesy side of Living Color's Corey Glover (man, whatever happened to THAT guy?!?!—one solo CD in 13 years???—cah-mon!!!). Then he jumps on the organ in the long instrumental Swank (7:13) and comes off like a meeting between Brian Auger and Booker T., Sobb likewise nicely showing his solid off-meter chops in that cut, funkifyin' everything all the more, letting into Tony D's echoey wah'ed space-face fretwork, Tau Ceti by way of Amarillo. Nice to see Paul Reddick working with these cats, too (co-scribes a coupla cuts). That guy doesn't issue anywhere near enough CDs to suit you or me, so ya hafta grab whatcha can whenya can, and this is one place to do it.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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