Water Seed - Fresh (2010)

Water Seed
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I got a chance to hear a little bit of a Water Seed live show - via CD Baby. I was preparing to write my review of the band's latest release, the very good Fresh. I listened to the joint and liked what I heard, but I needed to augment my opinions with something...so I went all over the Internet - YouTube, iTunes, anywhere - just looking for anything I can learn about this band. I got to their web page and also to previous SoulTracks articles, where I learned that Water Seed moved from New Orleans to Atlanta in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I also found their live CD titled Early For the Future where I saw a familiar title - a cover version of Cherelle's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On." Robert Palmer, of course, covered that song, most famously.  The Water Seed version was a live funk version, and iTunes only gave me 30 seconds of it, which is 30 seconds more than I got from YouTube.

I got a chance to hear a little bit of a Water Seed live show - via CD Baby. I was preparing to write my review of the band's latest release, the very good Fresh. I listened to the joint and liked what I heard, but I needed to augment my opinions with something...so I went all over the Internet - YouTube, iTunes, anywhere - just looking for anything I can learn about this band. I got to their web page and also to previous SoulTracks articles, where I learned that Water Seed moved from New Orleans to Atlanta in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I also found their live CD titled Early For the Future where I saw a familiar title - a cover version of Cherelle's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On." Robert Palmer, of course, covered that song, most famously.  The Water Seed version was a live funk version, and iTunes only gave me 30 seconds of it, which is 30 seconds more than I got from YouTube.

Finally, I went to CD Baby where I couldn't hear the nine tracks on Early For The Future, but at least I heard extended excerpts. That was enough for me to realize that a studio record doesn't do this band justice. That being said, Fresh is pretty good. Every track on this CD is solid. My two favorites are "Missin' You" and "Magnificent." The band included a live version of "Missin' You" on Early For The Future.  The live version has more of a neo-soul vibe while the version featured on Fresh combines that with flecks of jazz. Both feature the silky vocals on lead singer Shaleyah and the flute work of Cinese.

Shaleyah imbues the vocals on the breezy "Magnificent" with a kind of Minnie Ripperton feel. The hip-hop/dance track "Starz In My Bedroom" is a tip of the hat the Water Seed's adopted hometown. The combination singing and rapid fire rapping and the far out imagery gives the song an Outkast feel.

Hurricane Katrina was the biggest natural disaster that took place in this country during my lifetime. The storm created a Diaspora of musicians who spread out across the country to escape its destruction, and in many ways what has been a loss for New Orleans has been a gain for the rest of the nation. We not only get a chance to hear these excellent musicians, but groups like Water Seed serve to expand the nation's understanding of the music of New Orleans. That music encompasses funk, rock, gospel, classical and world music along with the jazz and blues that made the city famous. That musical gumbo can be heard in Water Seed's music, and it goes down just as easy. Highly Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 

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