Sunday, March 18, 2007

C.D. Review; The Bamboos; Step It Up (Ubiquity)

This is a fine specimen of new funk, and one of few to emerge from Australia. This record was originally released by the small Melbourne label Bamboo Shack before Ubiquity co-ordinated a North American release for the record.
Besides two collaborations with the talented English soul singer Alice Russell, the tracks on Step It Up are instrumentals. Most of it is played in the spirit of the J.B.'s, particularly that busy-but-tight drumming, courtesy of Danny Farrugia. Their take of the soul classic "Tighten Up" lets the band play around as they introduce themselves in this jam. Band leader and guitarist Lance Ferguson lets the horns do their thing, before Hammond organ player Ben Grayson take turns leading the song.
Other elements of funk can be heard, and the final track, "Voodoo Doll" effectively channels The Meters. These instrumentals aren't exactly jaw-droppingly funky, but they are solid, straight-forward honest slices of funk from a promising band. Now if only they could team up with a producer who will have them really cut loose.

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