set out my stall when I reviewed fo/mo/deep's previous
record "A Beautiful Bang"
and I'm glad to have been able to keep up with the band
between the release of that record and 2014’s deliciously
titled "The Groovy Goodness".
As I type this, summer seems like it's upon us and the burst
of energy that is '1974' just makes it feel all the more
real. The passionate sax and electric piano solos reinforce
what the rhythm section has told you from minute one - it's
on! I just went back and listened to this song after
drafting this first paragraph - because I can't get that sax
hook out of my head, in fact this whole song has grabbed me
and won't let go. Funk lovers are in more familiar territory
with 'Block Party', which is a sax-led head-nodding number.
There is a lot of air in Ron Holmes' fretless bass line and
André Scott's snare drum pattern - which I always love -
this must be a great jam live.
Is it a Motown track, or a big band number creepin' up on
you? Neither - it's 'Groidology'. It has a real swagger,
helped by the loping upright bass line. I loved this song
the first time I heard it and it gets better all the time.
The rhythmic figure on piano and *that* trombone solo bring
it on home. Mighty, mighty. Blues? Is John Lee Hooker in the
house? 'Peach Cobbler' has an old Crusaders sound - and I
mean that this sounds like Wilton Felder and Joe Sample
circa 1972. The break midway through has an almost carnival
vibe - it sounds like someone is having a ball in the
'If We, Can Be..' is a short but grand solo piano intro to
the ballad 'As She Walked Away', which is a lovely segue,
let me say. Joshua Boyd gets a sense of drama reminiscent of
the Isley Brothers' 'Highways of my Life'. The ballad itself
is very radio friendly, and I mean that in the most positive
way. Smooth jazz and NAC stations should be giving this
heavy airplay. Tenor sax takes the melody but it's the piano
that really sets the tone. The swell of the fretless bass
and that skipping snare are more hypnotic than you realize.
There's a lovely retro feel to the chunky 'That Song (This
Love)'. Keith Newton's tenor sax leads off and states the
melody clearly before the groove lays back and the sax takes
a lyrical solo. The electric piano interjects but the
pleading sax takes it home. That same sax burns on the short
and very sweet solo piece 'You Can Love me Twice the Next
Time'. Hear this on headphones and feel chills.
'The Price of Suga'' is a frenzied piece written in 6/4. The
fretless bass almost sounds like a voice, and the electric
piano and soprano sax whirl around as if to drive the bass
crazy. Then the bass goes crazy - the tension was building
to the point where it had to cut loose. Peace of mind by the
end? You decide. Certainly in the closer 'Chamsa (A Tribute
to Shimrit Shoshan)' the solo piano makes you close your
eyes in contemplation.
I my review of the previous CD I talked about the honest
nature of this band's music. They have a tightness and
togetherness that must come from the many gigs I see
social media, and it's delivered to music buyers intact
thanks to uncluttered and elegant production which, to my
ears, is rare in these times. The more I listen, the more
I'm drawn in to the fo/mo/deep sound - and I like that.
And here's a shout out to Ron and Sandra Holmes for one of
the most funky, engaging and joyful pieces of cover design
I've seen in years. It's often used as my computer
wallpaper, both at home and at work. Drawn in…
RHMedia LLC - Producer: Ron "FatKat" Holmes