Album review

Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy 

Shining On

added: 25 Nov 2013 // release date: 19 Oct 2013 // label:
reviewer: Daniel Davidson-Amadi

Ron Littlejohn & The Funk Embassy - Shining On - Printable version
Hello again my soul funk brothers and sisters! Today we have a clinic of mercurial instrumentation and song making that hails from Canada and is a testament to stick-to-itiveness and the power of the World Wide Web. ‘Shining on’ was released on the 19th of last month and has all the hallmarks of a professional record delivered in a fancy, expensive studio, but this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. When you look under the bonnet of this smooth groover, you’ll find out that this inspirational troupe were amassed through a couple of advertisements over Craigslist, collaborative efforts using music-based social communities and a lot of good fortune. The culmination is an eclectic effort in which co-founders Ron Littlejohn and Thierry Matrat call upon several different talents from song to song with varying takes on the genre but never with a lesser appreciation of the authentic Soul.

‘Shining On’ is precipitated by hard times according to songwriter Littlejohn and inspired by the greats like Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye and All Green. The album is a festival of wah-ing strat guitars, bright saxes and even some hip-hop influences with turntablism that doesn’t detract from the classic style The Funk Embassy have reworked.

With no less than 15 musicians involved on the project, ‘Shining On’ was always in danger of being an anthology of incongruous ideas yet, somehow, the collective managed to “sing from the same hymn sheet”. Littlejohn and Matrat have rounded up the best of the best on the unsigned music scene and each person brought something a little different to the songs making each one completely unalike but no less expressive and enjoyable than the last one you heard.

‘Shining On’ is for the Funk and Soul lovers, predominantly drawing on the heyday of this orchestral style – the 70s. All credit must be lauded upon Thierry and Ron for comprising something like this through sheer determination and organisation. It’s a high risk concept that, in so many instances, rarely reaps rewards like this but, as the saying goes, no guts, no glory!

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3 stars

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