Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
He looks like Big Dam Band leader Reverend Peyton, dances like James Brown, and sings like a holy ghost revival preacher at a backwoods camp meeting. Nathaniel Rateliff and his band the Night Sweats lay it down hard and soulful, recalling the exuberance and bombast of great r&b reviews like the Johnny Otis Show. His breakout single, “S.O.B.” is gospel-soaked soul blended with high-octane old time rock and roll. Starts out like a hymn, sounding like a churchy version of Thurston Harris’ 1957 hit “Little Bitty Pretty One,” morphing into balls to the wall, brassy bar band, beer bottle bustin’, window rattlin’, floor shakin’, stomp and holler, rock and roll revival bombast.
“Oh, yeah, a party’s ’bout to break out- Whatever you’re watching this on, turn it up,” said Tonight show host Jimmy Fallon, introducing them last month for their TV debut on his show. It wasn’t hype. Rateliff and the band had the crowd on its feet, wallowing in the spirit, shouting his praises. http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/nathaniel-rateliff-the-night-sweats-sob/2888764
His eponymous Stax debut is chock full of more of the same infectious gospel-saturated soul and bad-to-the- bone rock. Stax is fitting label for Rateliff, whose fiery soul rivals that of the classic soul men and women who strutted their stuff on the label back in the ’60s and ’70s.
The band pays further homage to the Stax legacy with their big brassy backing and funk bassline reminiscent of Otis’ “I Can’t Turn You a Loose” driving “Need Never Get Old,” making you believe that Redding or Sam and Dave are about to come busting out on stage any second to whip up audiences once again with classic blistering ’70s soul.
“Howling At Nothing” has a Sam Cooke smooth soul feel, gospel feel shattered by Rateliff’s metallic psychedelic guitar solo before he and his Sweats come back in for some more churchy vocals.
Though they share the same title, Rateliff’s “Shake” has nothing in common with Cooke’s tune Rateliff’s’s original is a low-down snaky, swampy, shimmery, ode to carnal female wigglery, an unholy blend of Slim Harpo and Tony Joe White.
“Look it Here” sounds like a tune and topic suitable for soul great Otis Clay or his disciple Billy Price, hard charging soul backed by a horn-heavy band driving the beat like a Muscle Shoals soul train.
Rateliff’s message and manner of delivery has resonated with newly minted fans who have made his latest tour stops sell out in minutes even after being moved to larger venues. Join the congregation or get left by the wayside with all the other sinners without benefit of the Rateliff’s healing night sweats.