Missing that spicy soul music? Into the jam band scene? Like your licks hot and heavy one minute, sweet and sassy the next? Soulive is your answer. One minute the band is channeling Sly Stone, the next Jimi Hendrix, then modern flamenco, and with contributions from Ivan Neville and Chaka Khan among others, theres some superlative singing as well. But thats just icing on the cake that is Soulive, a guitar/organ/drums trio that draws its inspiration almost equally from the rock, soul, jam, and jazz camps. They dont just lock into a groove, they grab it and dont let go, no matter how ferociously they rock around it. But Soulive offers precision as well, as on the title track, where the two-man horn section complements Eric Krasnos guitars.
Richard Thompson Front Parlour Ballads - Cooking Vinyl
Richard Thompson has been hailed as a guitar hero, the voice of folk, and a songwriter extraordinaire. He is, of course, all three. The opening Let It Blow is one of those instant singalongs, its lyrics witty and wry. The poignant For Whose Sake follows, and the rollicking Miss Patsy could come from Planxty or any of the Irish folk-rock groups. But coming as it does from Thompson, you should expect the unexpected, as when he sings, So I got me a nose job, a shave and a haircut, to drive all them ladies berserk. All the while hes finger-picking a beautiful and decidedly difficult guitar line. This collection recorded mostly by himself in his home studio stands comfortably alongside the more than 30 albums hes crafted with Fairport Convention, with his ex-wife Linda and a host of other collaborators.
Maria Muldaur Sweet Lovin Ol Soul - Stony Plain
Midnight at the Oasis? More like quarter to three in some juke joint on the highway, where the line between hillbilly music and the blues is blurred to the point of being ignored. The onetime pop siren has been performing roots music the last several years, trading her vibrato-laden, high-pitched sound for one lower and more, well, lowdown. The honky-tonk piano, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo and jug! actually take Muldaur back to her musical roots when she performed with the Even Dozen Jug Band and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Traditional bluesman Taj Mahal guests, and the two seem perfectly at home with each other and the material, much of it by Memphis Minnie. Still, its an acquired taste at best.
Praful Pyramid In Your Backyard - Rendezvous/Therapy/N-Coded
In the 60s Prafuls music would have been labeled psychedelic. In the 70s it would have been somewhere in the progressive camp alongside the likes of Henry Cow or the Art Bears. Today it gets play on the smooth jazz stations. Go figure. But this heady concoction of sampled beats, washes of electronic sound, Prafuls snaking saxophone and occasional vocalizing can be mesmerizing one minute, and get you on the dance floor the next. Sometimes the lines coalesce into a regular beat, as on the almost bossa nova-ish Acredite. No matter that its not sung in English. Eternity and Naked both are in English, and the former is particularly engaging, the light feathery-soft voice of Sudha floating atop a bed of synthesizers and percussion.