All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

1

The Marcus King Band: Due North

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
It should come as no surprise that the Marcus King Band is developing a work ethic remarkably similar to Gov't Mule. The latter band's titular leader, Warren Haynes, produced their eponymous second album which was released on Fantasy Records, the same label on which the Mule now resides. And, not coincidentally, MKD has the same management organization, which may explain why the group has engaged in almost constant roadwork since the release of the last album. Not surprisingly, such an unrelenting and assiduous approach to public exposure also extends to recordings, an impression confirmed by the digital only Due North EP issued roughly a year after its sophomore long-player.

The Marcus King Band certainly isn't averse to accommodating cover material during its live performances, so it's only reasonable the bulk of this content would consist of outside songs. But, given the MKB's proclivity to jam, plus the presence of horns in the lineup, it might make better sense to choose the Marshall Tucker Band's "Another Cruel Love" rather than "This Old Cowboy;" the latter signifies the point MTB began to cater more strictly to a country audience, thereby reining in their own improvisational inclinations, not to mention the eclectic grasp the group exhibited on its first two albums.

That said, this studio version of the late Toy Caldwell's song does carry some of the light-jazzy air of King and company's original songs, so the selection makes sense.. Two other studio outtakes from the sessions Haynes oversaw aren't so enlightening, hinting at why neither made the final cut for the album as it was issued. "What's Right" is a blustery rocker on which the band, particularly the bandleader himself on guitar, go a bit over the top, while "Slip Back," at just over six minutes belies the restraint the Marcus King Band has demonstrated on their past studio efforts: the unit comes perilously close to noodling.

A somewhat more creative, not to mention expansive approach comes across on a 2017 live recording from Chicago (the Windy City site perhaps explaining the inclusion of the namesake group's tune). Clocking in at just shy of fifteen minutes in duration, the medley comprised of "Sharry Barry"/"Sliced Milk"/"25 Or 6 To 4"/"I'll Stay"/"Gloomy Sunday," radiates a fiery intensity and ensemble unity that only whets the appetite for more, in no small part because the track fades out in such tantalizing fashion. This track further suggests that a full-length live album might be in order for the next MKB release and that this four-cut collection, ostensibly a gesture of gratitude to the fan base, might better have been a free download (it retails for $4.99).

So, while the very availability of Due North makes a certain amount of sense, on more than one front, the absence of physical product-even in the form of a limited run of CD's or 7-inch singles, for sale only at shows-may not greatly enhance the potential for the Marcus King Band to appreciably widen its audience.

Track Listing: What's Right; This Ol' Cowboy; Slip Back; Sharry Barry/Sliced Milk/25 Or 6 To 4/I'll Stay/Gloomy Sunday.

Personnel: Marcus King: vocals, guitar; Matt Jennings: keyboards; Justin Johnson: trumpet, trombone; Dean Mitchell: Saxophone; Stephen Campbell: bass; Jack Ryan: drums.

Title: Due North | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Fantasy Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
Due North

Due North

Fantasy Records
2017

buy
Marcus King: The Marcus King Band

Marcus King: The...

Evil Teen Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Rebel Portraiture" CD/LP/Track Review Rebel Portraiture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Transition" CD/LP/Track Review Transition
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 4, 2018
Read "Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Christmas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2017
Read "As It Should Be: Ballads 2" CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017