Monday, June 8, 2009

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears: Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM

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The current wave of old-school Southern R&B just peaked with the energetic new release by Austin-Texan Black Joe Lewis. The passing of great shouters like James Brown and Screamin' Jay Hawkins left a void, but the powerful voice of Lewis provides a more than adequate replacement. While steeped in the Muscle Shoals vocal tradition defined by Otis Redding and Wilson Picket, Lewis contemporizes his work by adding a colorful and modern vernacular to his delivery, and taking a much more direct perspective on social issues than one would have gotten away with in the '60s. The Honeybears septet sharpens things a bit by bringing a harder-rocking groove to the musical mix, but retains the hot Memphis style of old funk. With such titles as "Gunpowder," "Big Booty Woman," and "Please Pt. Two," you know what's up. Deep soul in the heart of Texas. 4 out of 5 stars

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