Though New Orleans understandably gets most of the attention when it comes to Louisiana music, there is a diversity of styles appreciated as one moves around the state. The northern city of Monroe, is home to Louisiana Soul Revival, which as their name infers, packs a hard hitting combination of funky soul under the direction of singer/songwriter/keyboardist Doug Duffey.
A native of Monroe, Duffey came up playing keys around the south in a multitude of bands before heading out to Los Angeles in the 1970's to make a name for himself as a funk oriented songwriter. He has continued to compose and perform and this is his latest project; writing all of the material, which was arranged and produced by guitarist Dan Sumner. A good funk/soul band has to have a tight horn section, and LSR is no exception, demonstrating high competency in executing complicated charts.
"Funky Bidneh," begins with the requisite wah-wah guitar, and dominant vocal refrain, with the horn men quickly defining the groove. "It Ain't What You Do" has an infectious scratchy rhythm, leading up to a brief but crisp solo by altoist Mason Howard. A hint of Tower of Power comes through in "I Don't Need Ya Anyway," with the gritty organ pushing and pulling the action. Duffey handles all the lead vocals, displaying a genuine southern flavor, which is enhanced by the stellar backing vocals of Betsy Love and Naomi Holder. These ladies take over on "Do It Right," and prove that there is no substitute for the woman's touch.
New Orleans vocalist Chuck Carbo comes to mind on "1-900-For-Love," a classic R&B number reminiscent of jukebox hits from when this music was in its prime. They come back with a vengeance on "The Joke Is On You" and glide into the smooth side of soul on "Just For Tonight." Here, Duffey shows his acquired singing ability, a flashback to the slick Gamble and Huff era of the '70's. The funk gumbo continues on "B What R Ya," before wrapping it up with "Love Into My Life," an obvious dance favorite, thrusted by the ferocious bass of Ben Ford, who did a remarkable job throughout the session, as this music demands a fierce low end.
Louisiana Soul Revival is an active performing and touring ensemble, that is why the audio presence is so animated, for it's difficult to pull this off with studio musicians. They have a throwback soul sound that requires precise instrumentation and rhythm, so it resonates with authenticity and authority. As guitarist/arranger Dan Sumner states, "it's a big, blasting, full sound...that speaks brashly of Louisiana's funk future."
Funky Bidneh; It Ain’t What You Do; I Don’t Need Ya Anyway; Do It
Right; 1-900-For-Love; The Joke Is On You; Just For Tonight; B What R
Ya; Love Into My Life.
Doug Duffey: vocals, piano, keys; Dan Sumner: vocals, guitar,
arrangements; Ben Ford: bass; Adam Ryland: drums, percussion; Cody
Holder: baritone sax; Jonathan Patterson: trombone; Mason Howard:
alto sax; Bert Windham: trumpet; Betsy Lowe: vocals; Naomi Holder:
vocals, Alex Noppe: trumpet (7).
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