The Drizabone Soul Family - The Recipe of Life

The Drizabone Soul Family
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In recent years mainstream artists such as R. Kelly, Beyonce and Raphael Saddiq all released original songs that sounded like they could have been made in the 1960s or 70s rather than in the first few years of the 21st Century.

Ironically, what the mainstream identifies as a novel new trend is nothing of the sort. So for every American act like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, renown for deploying classic music styles and production techniques to make original music, there are several artists from the continent of Europe and the United Kingdom who don't have any of the reservations that perhaps prevent more American soul acts from embracing the classic soul sounds created by their musical ancestors.

In recent years mainstream artists such as R. Kelly, Beyonce and Raphael Saddiq all released original songs that sounded like they could have been made in the 1960s or 70s rather than in the first few years of the 21st Century.

Ironically, what the mainstream identifies as a novel new trend is nothing of the sort. So for every American act like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, renown for deploying classic music styles and production techniques to make original music, there are several artists from the continent of Europe and the United Kingdom who don't have any of the reservations that perhaps prevent more American soul acts from embracing the classic soul sounds created by their musical ancestors.

The British group The Drizabone Soul Family made new songs that took listeners on joyful trip down memory lane on their 2010 recording All the Way. The band doubles down on the new/old school sound on their latest release The Recipe of Life. Despite the fact that both records feature sounds that can be called revivalist, they are more different than similar one respect: All The Way was more expansive in its overview of these classic sounds. The track list on that record featured tunes that ranged from Motown soul to 1970s funk and disco and 1980s dance. The Recipe of Life is more limited in terms of its musical overview, which gives the record more of a focused sound. Drizabone leader Billy Freeman uses The Recipe of Life to honor Motown along with the sophisticated soul of 1970s Philadelphia International Records.

"Too Young," a cut that tells the story of a teenaged romance producing a pregnancy, recalls the Diana Ross & the Supreme's classic "Love Child." Meanwhile, the up-tempo "Happy Ending" harkens back to PIR's The Three Degrees. And while Freeman is content to allow his female singers to handle the vocals for most of record's tracks, he lends his voice to  "Smile Baby," an energetic number with a bouncy bass, kicking percussions and jazzy horn arrangements that make this cut perhaps The Recipe of Life's most danceable number. The album's best track is the seductive and joyfully bawdy "Sell My Soul," a mid tempo cut that tells the story a woman who is so smitten with the object of her desire that she's willing to trade her soul for one night of passion.

It would be wrong to say that a record such as The Recipe of Life will remind listeners of the excellence of music that came out of Detroit and Philly back in the day. People will never forget the greatness created by innovators such as Berry Gordy and Gamble & Huff. However, a project such as The Recipe of Life does have a very important message for 21st Century music fans: Whether they are reviving classic sounds or using the music of the past to create something new, contemporary artists are capable of making high quality music. The Recipe of Life serves as Drizabone's reminder that we don't have to settle for junk or spend our days listening to the oldies. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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