Pegdoll Records (label)
19 December 2020 (released)
19 December 2020
The opening track on this album tells you all you need to know about what’s to come on this sterling supergroup assembled-ensemble. The Smudge All-Stars is a who’s who of you know who, if you got the knowhow.
Operating as ‘an analogue intelligence network’ esteemed jazz/funk/rock/pop drummer and Smudge-Svengali Richie Stevens summons a veritable roll-call of luminaries including (and more!) George Clinton, dub-heads Earl Sixteen, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Dennis Bovell (‘Our Lives’), Soul II Soul's Charlotte Kelly, Brit-Soul’s Omar and original Horny Horns Fred Wesley and Alfred Pee Wee Ellis to create and produce this free-your-mind thinking, top-brassy winking and some rhythm and bluesy-woozy mouth-organomics from Mitt Gamon (‘2 Cold 2 Hold’).
The onomatopoeic ‘Brutal Funk’ opens proceedings, a funkily brutal slo-mo-groove that sees and hears DJ D-Zire recalling Prince at his most laidback and loquacious. Its initial entrée features the sound of the lute, the baroque sound of the past colliding and combining with an electrified present to create a breathless and classical gasp of fresh air.
P-Funk Parliamentarian and Funkadelicatessen proprietor, George Clinton coquettishly graces the philosophically charged ‘Up is just a place’ and ‘Headache’, two missives to the notions of space and what, who, how and why occupies it. Pain or gain again, it’s entirely up to you if you want to regain. On the latter Clinton’s beseeching preacher man sermonising is augmented by a cautionary warning to appreciate what you got. Once it’s gone, so are you.
This theme continues with ‘B Side’ which explicitly encourages and implicitly insists that life isn’t all-ways about the first signs, beneath the surface lurks yet-to-be-attained mysteries and pleasures. As the lyrics are sagely sung goes ‘what’s the use in hiding on the A side, the sun is always shining on the B side’. Therefore, flip the disc and play on. Literally and metaphorically.
Attention, manicured Manhattan Mantovani Mark Ronson, ‘this’ is how you go funkin’ uptown. With these Sun Kings (and Queens) downtown, that’s how.