Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Moonshine Society's Sweet Thing Is Classic Soul In The Best Way
Their second musical gift is called "Sweet Thing". A perfect description of enigmatic lead vocalist Black Betty. The title song to this collection is a combination of swamp and pop blues with Betty laying claim to some big sista shoes as she elevates the art of teasy and greasy. Immediately you are in some fresh musical terrain. The sweet thing might be the production on this record, which is clean and bold and rather in your face. "Shake" follows as an almost surf-soul stomp with maybe a nod to Motown or the Stax catalog. At this point there might be a party already in progress as a full blown sax wails out from your woofers.
"Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean" might be the funnest song about a dead beat loser. Betty's convictions are felt and not just crooned. A honky-tonk piano and some big choruses only add to the party that is well under way. "Come On Home" is a slow burner very similar to Tedeschi Trucks. It's pure soul of the highest order with some compelling horns and sweet guitar licks from Joe Poppen. Joe's playing on this record is smooth, stealth and close to perfection. "Southern Road" is blues with a southern rock vibe, lots of harmonica and Betty belting out some tough love. The instrumental break on this tune could have gone on for 20 minutes and I wouldn't have gotten tired of it. "Biscuits, Bacon and The Blues" has a great gospel oriented intro followed by a coy frolic through a number of blues tinged styles. Poppen's guitar rattles off some ear pleasing notes while Betty opines about those three essentials.
The band tackles "Use Me" an underappreciated soul masterpiece from the 70's. Betty brings some strong sass to this track as Chris Brown answers the high calling on bass. Drummer Rodney Dunton is a force on the kit and makes a special contribution here. The song transitions to "Walk On Gilded Splinters", retaining the same structure but with new lyrics. The band seamlessly covers "I'd Rather Go Blind", again relying on Betty's authentic soul to drive the point home...and she does. "Deal The Devil Made" is a backroom torch number that moves toward late night jazz but still retains the Moonshine vibe.
"The One Who Got Away" is a larger than life blues and soul power ballad. A fine way to end this 10-track soul drenched masterwork. The Moonshine Society has a big, bright and long future ahead of them. The tangibles and the chemistry are there and Black Betty can sing with the best of them. In a different world with radio support, this would be an overnight sensation. An incredible album for fans of blues, rock and soul.