Rants And Raves: Jan 2009

January 1, 2009


JJ Got Live RaTX

Jaimo Welch is bringing back the big rock riff in a big fat way on RTX’s fourth release. The tones are raw and in your face, especially if your face is in a loud-ass, beer-soaked warehouse. The tunes run the gamut from Stones-y attitude (with righteous Phase 90 swirls) on “Cheap Wine Time” to Sweet-meets-Kiss glamitude (with kick-ass pull-off licks) on “How’d You Do It” to full-blown Metallica speed chugs on “Hash.” Plenty of Welch’s solos sound like they were laid down on the basic tracks with the sort of first-take, do-ordie recklessness that is all too uncommon these days. If you dig Les Pauls into Marshalls, fingers on strings, and squealing feedback that no one bothered to take off the recording, give it a spin. Drag City.

—Matt Blackett


Blue Plate Special

Bernard’s latest release spotlights his cool improvisational style, in which jazz, funk, and lots of other things are blended into an instrumental stew that is deliciously fun to listen to. Texture and groove are the main things here, and, unlike a lot of cats who don’t like to venture out of the jazzbo “green” zone, Bernard has no problem in laying back on his Benson-esque picking (“Fast Fun” is a good example) to work in some bottleneck action on things like “Gen Pop” and “How Great Thou Art,” or to spice it up with echo freakouts and a pinch of fuzzy Octavia on “Awanna.” The beats delivered by this quartet are morbidly obese, the guitar playing is full of sly twists, and the net result is a jazz album with all the hipster élan of a ’66 Dodge Polara. Palmetto.

—Art Thompson



Live 1976

Filmed in Houston on Halloween night, this amazing footage captures George Clinton and P-Funk at the top of their game. Fueled by a huge ensemble featuring former James Brown horn men Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, keyboard genius Bernie Worrell, bassist Cordell “Boogie” Mosson, and guitarists Garry Shider and Glenn Goins— Clinton makes the Mothership Connection in high style. In fact, an actual “mothership,” reportedly costing $275,000, dramatically descends from the ceiling early in the show. Shider and Goins not only do justice to original guitarist Eddie Hazel (the James Brown alumnus was incarcerated at the time), they pump the funk up even further with nasty rock riffs and bluesy Hendrix-inspired solos. Included among the multitude of performers are several stellar vocalists, who trade off on killer versions of classics such as “Mothership Connection (Star Child),” “Dr. Funkenstein,” “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up),” and “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker).” Original bassist Bootsy Collins, Sly Stone, and members of their bands join the party on the finale. Shout Factory.

—Barry Cleveland


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