Brooklyn Soul Stew - Abandoned Tracks (2013)

Brooklyn Soul Stew
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You understand just how deeply this soul music thing has engrained itself into the world’s conscious when you hear Swedish vocalist Per Grell sing “I got a girl in New Orleans, sure know how to cook good collard greens” on the tune “International Playboy.” It can be argued that at a time when the nation’s trade deficit is somewhere north of $100 billion each month, that soul music remains one of America’s most viable exports. Music fans all over the world can’t get enough of it. They not only listen to the artists who currently top the charts, they joyfully listen to soul songs that music fans and artists discarded years ago.

That explains why the Swedish based band Brooklyn Soul Stew named their new album Abandoned Tracks. American artists such as Aaron Neville can resurrect long forgotten numbers. However, domestic artists usually stick to the better-known entries in the American musical canon.

You understand just how deeply this soul music thing has engrained itself into the world’s conscious when you hear Swedish vocalist Per Grell sing “I got a girl in New Orleans, sure know how to cook good collard greens” on the tune “International Playboy.” It can be argued that at a time when the nation’s trade deficit is somewhere north of $100 billion each month, that soul music remains one of America’s most viable exports. Music fans all over the world can’t get enough of it. They not only listen to the artists who currently top the charts, they joyfully listen to soul songs that music fans and artists discarded years ago.

That explains why the Swedish based band Brooklyn Soul Stew named their new album Abandoned Tracks. American artists such as Aaron Neville can resurrect long forgotten numbers. However, domestic artists usually stick to the better-known entries in the American musical canon.

To their credit, Brooklyn Soul Stew approached the art of making a cover album from the standpoint of fans who have a deep and abiding love for soul music from the 1960s and 70s. The band members all seem to recall their first memories of hearing Clarence Carter sing “Snatching It Back” or Denise LaSalle sing “A Man Sized Job.” Their first experience with “Barefootin’” didn’t come from hearing the tune in a commercial for cleaning products, but dancing to the cut at a sock hop.

The musical arrangements hew to the classic soul formula of jumping bass lines, blaring horns and energetic saxophone solos. The vocal work of Grell and especially Annsofie Wigert are particularly strong. Wigert, in fact, comes off as one of the stars on Abandoned Tracks. She provides the necessary seasoned sass on “A Man Sized Job,” while also imbuing “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” with that type of joyful deceit that has long been a blues staple.

Music fans will head straight to YouTube to hear the originals after listening to Abandoned Tracks. That’s actually a compliment to the work that Brooklyn Soul Stew did on Abandoned Tracks. Brooklyn Soul Stew manages to capture the spirit of these great tunes. Abandoned Tracks also directs some much-deserved shine towards these great soul records and the men and women who made them. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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