28 May 2012 (released)
03 May 2012
There is no shortage of ‘Supergroups’ around at the minute - Chickenfoot on the West Coast, BCC straddling the Atlantic and others around the world – but it is about time for a Southern band to claim the crown and looking at the band members names got me salivating like Pavlov’s pooch. Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito very ably supported by Charlie Wooton and Yonrico Scott and produced by Jim Gaines: if these guys can’t make a good noise there is something wrong with the world.
The album has music from all over the South – New Orleans funk, Atlanta hot Blues, Memphis soul and it is one of those albums that, at first, sounds like a collection of disparate songs but after you have lived with it for a while you can hear the band coming together and start to pick out some favourite numbers – after the fourth listen through that was all of them!
Cyril Neville is a great vocalist and his easy style and even tones set the stage for Allman’s incendiary guitar as well as Mike Zito’s more classic Blues style. Zito's vocals are more tight to the playing but they both give some great voice. I have been a fan of Yonrico Scott for a while but Charlie Wooton’s bass is a revelation and the two of them create a dark morass of funk that allows all of the shenanigans of the other three free rein.
The writing credits tell a large part of the story with all of the band working together in different combinations - ‘Fired Up’ is credited to Neville/Wooton and what you get is a dark piece of Soul with a stunning solo from Allman, ‘Moonlight Over The Mississippi’ is Zito/Neville and has an altogether more New Orleans feel to it. ‘Sweet Jelly Donut’ is a sassy piece of raunchy Blues with some fine slide and a seriously funky rhythm. All of these guys are experienced Jammers (jamists?) and doing a version of the Grateful Dead’s ‘Fire On The Mountain’ seems like a tribute to the ultimate jam band but they manage to make it very much something of their own – if you are going to cover a classic, don’t just copy the original and they don’t!
On paper this should be brilliant but I have heard many, many ‘Supergroups’ that crashed and burned around egos and money but these guys seem to be doing this for the music and the result is a stone cracker.