The Groove Association Ft. Georgie B - Soul Family Affair

The Groove Association Ft. Georgie B
soul_family_affair_the_groove_association.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

During the mid-‘80s, funky male septet Second Image made a notable impression on the UK charts with kinetic movers like “Star,” “Sing and Shout,” and “Special Lady.” But after only two albums, the group disappeared from the game. It wasn’t until 2012 that vocalist/percussionist George Bromfield (aka Georgie B) brought back elements of their revered sound with a new performing and recording unit, The Groove Association. His first album via this venture, Let’s Break the Ice, signaled a coolly danceable, vocally tasty flair with the jazzy, hook-laden title cut. The 2014 follow-up, 3 AM, continued to delight lovers of old-school R&B jams with the saucy, mid-paced “Something’s Changed” and a reverent rendition of Skipworth & Turner’s 1986 gem, “Thinking About Your Love.”

During the mid-‘80s, funky male septet Second Image made a notable impression on the UK charts with kinetic movers like “Star,” “Sing and Shout,” and “Special Lady.” But after only two albums, the group disappeared from the game. It wasn’t until 2012 that vocalist/percussionist George Bromfield (aka Georgie B) brought back elements of their revered sound with a new performing and recording unit, The Groove Association. His first album via this venture, Let’s Break the Ice, signaled a coolly danceable, vocally tasty flair with the jazzy, hook-laden title cut. The 2014 follow-up, 3 AM, continued to delight lovers of old-school R&B jams with the saucy, mid-paced “Something’s Changed” and a reverent rendition of Skipworth & Turner’s 1986 gem, “Thinking About Your Love.”

With able assistance from former Second Image drummer Weston Foster, Georgie B has delivered another pleasing set with Soul Family Affair. Serving as primary writer, producer, and lead vocalist, he’s assembled a nicely flowing, yet wisely varied, selection of songs that has the potential to expand his fan base from ‘80s devotees to ‘90s enthusiasts and beyond. Culling ingredients from modern Brit soul, smooth jazz, a touch of hip-hop, and a little bit of G-funk, Soul Family Affair lives up to its title with classy, understated arrangements and well-founded, maturely related story lines. Georgie’s tonal approach is always in the pocket with the groove, and his phrasing covers an impressive range without ever going over the top.

The opener, “My Destiny,” is a soothingly concocted, mid-paced summer swayer prompted by Georgie’s distinctive tenor harmony lines and positive-minded message. It’s indicative of a stronger emphasis on slow jams and midtempo’s, which is further displayed on the low-key “I Gotta Thing 4 U.” Soft piano and drum track rhythms flow easily alongside his gently assured relaying of commitment. Meanwhile, a well-conceived remake of Bugatti & Musker’s 1981 nugget, “Mystery Girl,” maintains the charm of the original while adding to the overall laid back feel that permeates much of Soul Family Affair.

There’s still a handful of get-up-and-dance, upbeat numbers that satisfy musically and motion-wise. The straightforward “Ain’t No Stopping Us” blends light elements of disco and house into a memorable, radio-ready dish peppered by the uniquely demure background vocals of Deborah Bell. “Don’t Mess with My Love,” perhaps the deepest cut of funk on Soul Family Affair, shines with Dave Mascall’s oozing guitar work and a hefty drum swag dotted with sleek synth fills. Georgie’s no-nonsense lyrics come across ideally as he applies quietly assertive conviction with an edge of moodiness. And the chilled-out “It Doesn’t Really Matter” (once again benefiting from Bell’s distinct backing touch) is a hard-to-resist head-nodder presenting the other side of the story from “Don’t Mess with My Love.” Geared by a fittingly firm yet detached vocal interpretation, the track makes for a contented and even-keeled closer to the album.

Several bonus mixes round out Soul Family Affair (including an extra one on the physical version). The best of these is the ‘Like You Know Mix’ of the title track. This version incorporates a bit of a Chic vibe into the tune, a shout-out to supporters of quality soul and funk artists with a reference to Sly & The Family Stone’s classic in its chorus. Fluid keyboard touches and a bright sax solo add to the easygoing party essence. Recommended.

by Justin Kantor

 

 
Choice Cut - V3 - "Getting Better"
Listening Room - Avery Sunshine - Twenty Sixty Four
CD of the Month - Raul Midon - Bad Ass and Blind
SoulTracks Choice Cut - Toni Redd - "Underneath My Skin"

Leave a comment!