(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, August 2, 2010

CD review - Kings Go Forth, The Outsiders Are Back (2010)

Sherman, set the Way-Back Machine for 1972. That would explain how Kings Go Forth can capture the classic sound of the soul era so perfectly. Andy Noble and company wrote, played, and recorded The Outsiders Are Back following that era's state of the art. For all I can tell, they even drove a 1970 Plymouth Valiant to the studio when they were recording. Unlike many of the neo-soul bands out there, it's nice to hear the real sound without irony or updating.

Listening to the laid back groove of High On Your Love, the resemblance to the Temptations is uncanny. The solid bass line and beautiful vocal parts create a My Girl feel. This is the sound of summer love. The horns are mixed perfectly, providing the necessary punch without dominating the arrangement.

This leads into the full voiced soul blues of Paradise Lost. It's a lush sound with bluesy guitar punches. Again, the vocals are strong with those late '60s/early '70s harmonies. The drums punch with a touch of slap-back echo and a loose syncopation. It manages to evoke Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moocher, chain gang hollers, and Mike Bloomfield, all wrapped together.

The rest of the album is plenty strong, from the Shuggie Otis style funk soul of I Don't Love You No More to the upbeat, hippy soul of Get a Feeling (dig the retro organ work). The Curtis Mayfield sound of You're the One or the vintage rock-steady reggae groove of 1000 Songs are a couple of more examples.

The only weakness of The Outsiders Are Back is that it's more of a collection of singles than a planned out album. That's not entirely an accident. Noble has mentioned a preference for singles in interviews and the songs were recorded over a period of a couple of year. Still, the consistent mindset creates its own continuity.

I'm not sure why I associate Brandy Alexanders with classic soul. It may be the richness, the veiled punch, or just the sophisticated sound. In any case, The Outsiders Are Back has already been released, so listen to a couple of tracks and pick it up.

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