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by JC BrooksJC Brooks


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The Bloodshot label, generally known for its "insurgent country" music, releases its first soul album, and while the tendency is to call this "insurgent R&B," Chicago-based singer JC Brooks and his white trio are closer to garage soul. Along the lines of Austin's Black Joe Lewis and Brooklyn's Dap-Kings, the group finds its groove in the tough '60s rumble of Stax and Motown before the latter became overly commercialized. Brooks has a convincing tenor voice and the songs, predominantly written or co-composed by guitarist Billy Bungeroth, tap into the raw power of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett at their most rootsy. Added sweetening from guest horns, keyboards, and background singers fleshes out the sound, but keeps things unpolished and, well, at least somewhat insurgent. When the band hits a get-down funky James Brown backbeat as on "Baaadnews," it nails a frisky "Cool Jerk" vibe that is inescapable and hip-shaking. Brooks shifts to falsetto for the smooth, string-enhanced Philly International-styled "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)" (one of only two covers, this one originally performed by obscure Chicago soul group the Kaldirons), but ballads are not what the outfit is about. Rather, they excel at a harder-edged R&B, frequently with offbeat themes as on the interestingly named "Sister Ray Charles," a title that never appears in the song's lyrics. The other cover, Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," is given a fascinating, surging rearrangement and is stamped with the seal of approval from no less an authority than Jeff Tweedy. There's a nod to the Fine Young Cannibals in the finger-popping "Good Thing" Motown beat of "Everything Will Be Fine," and while little is unique, there's plenty of energy and enthusiasm to go around. Brooks and company take an unlikely detour on "Missing You" that seems like they have been listening to the Band, and close with an Impressions/Curtis Mayfield-inspired, politically charged "Awake," a sweet ballad with somewhat clichéd "this train is bound for glory" words that mix some gospel into the approach. Nothing is extended past its breaking point and the disc winds up in just over half an hour. But, like the best albums soul or otherwise, it leaves you -- as the title says -- wanting more.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/24/2011
Label: Bloodshot Records
UPC: 0744302019123
catalogNumber: 20191
Rank: 92208

Album Credits

Performance Credits

JC Brooks   Primary Artist,Vocals
Renaldo Domino   Background Vocals
David Agee   Conga
Nate Lepine   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Ben Taylor   Bass,Vocals
Jimmy Sutton   Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Alex Hall   Organ,Piano,Conga,Wurlitzer
Anthony Abbinanti   Percussion,Baritone Saxophone
Andrew Zelm   Trombone
Gerald Bailey   Trumpet
Andy Rosenstein   Background Vocals
Billy Bungeroth   Guitar,Vocals
Marcus Gentry   Background Vocals
Kevin Marks   Percussion,Drums,Vocals
Yuriy Geyer   Violin
Chris Neal   Piano,Tenor Saxophone
David Keller   Cello

Technical Credits

Jeff Tweedy   Composer
Emily Taylor   Executive Producer
Ben Taylor   Executive Producer
Jimmy Sutton   Producer
Alex Hall   Engineer,Horn Arrangements
Anthony Abbinanti   Engineer
Scott Williams   Cover Photo
Andrew Zelm   Horn Arrangements
Gerald Bailey   Horn Arrangements
Sutton   Composer
Darrow Kennedy   Composer
JC Brooks   Composer
Chris Neal   Horn Arrangements
David Keller   String Arrangements

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