Cool new hybrid of Roots & Soul: Ray B & The Reverberation: Tinted Windows to the Soul
I recently started a roots music newsletter in the Twin Cities called The Roots & Funky Numbers. There’s a very good roots community here – I found this CD to be especially striking. Here’s my review:
At first I thought, “Sweet, a converted blue-eyed souler proclaiming his newfound authenticity.” Wrong. Thankfully, Ray B’s got his own brand new bag. Vocally, he’s drunk deep from the Bill Withers-Pops Staples well—understated (and underrated) . Song-wise, he’s kinda Mayfield, kinda old Nashville, kinda Gamble & Huff, kinda his own deal. Probably watched too many Pam Grier movies—but he’s right, you can’t watch too many of those.
There’s also this subtle sense of classic reggae percolating in the production. This gives it a much different slant than Sharon Jones/James Hunter/Winehouse recordings. The clever use of horns and MPC loops adds cool neo-soul flourishes. My faves are: Carolee, a very pretty, sympathy-for-a-friend song and Classified, a dense, funky, stonewall to a nosy ex-lover. I was intrigued by the protest song in reverse, Deportation Day, and loved the spooky, visceral Race with the Devil. I could keep going, but suffice to say it’s a shining jewel from out of left field.
You can check his music out at: www.ray-barnard.com
Joe Robert Luke – the Roots & Funky Numbers