Summer might be coming to a close but Philadelphia's G. Love And
Special Sauce have encapsulated those warm listless days, lounging
summer nights, and sweet loving fun with their live CD/DVD compilation
A Year And A Night With G. Love And Special Sauce. Produced
by Chris DiBeneditto, the album compiles live tapings of the
band taken during their two sold out shows, November 24th and 25th,
2006, at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia for their Glass Of Lemonade
tour. The live tracks capture the impromptu chemistry of G. Love
(Garrett Dutton) and the members of Special Sauce, Jimi
"Jazz" Prescott on upright bass and Jeffrey "The
Houseman" Clemens on drums along with special guests Tristan
Prettyman and Marc Broussard on vocals, guitarist Donavan
Frankenreiter, and keyboardist Mark Boyce. The energy of
the live album is contagious with impromptu pieces that stop and go,
emotively coaxing the audience and getting the band's engine running.
The album makes you wish you could have been there.
Starting the album off with "I-76," G. Love And Special
Sauce set the audience up for some southern blues-funk and hip hop/rock
as G. Love ejects, "Yeah Philly, What's up baby?" to an
avalanche of cheers. The phrase will forever be G. Love's signature
line - the way the character "Joey" in NBC's hit series
Friends is attached to "How you doing?" G. Love's emotive
vocals show spunk and rhythm along the robust bass pumps, jazzy drum
snaps, folk-rock tinted guitar, and sweetly confectioned keyboards.
What you notice immediately is how easy it is for the players to load
up the drum fills with complex chord dynamics and infectious grooves
in their steps. The funky bass moves on "Back Of The Bus"
interlaced with the bluesy Wurlitzer schemes and G. Love's spontaneous
rapping with a hipster swag are gussied up for the audience. Marc
Broussard joins the crew on "Let The Music Play" adding
a soul-jazz voicing into the mix of cruising instrumentation and island
beats. The music and vocals produce a plush ethos that has a gospel
ring which enhances to the communal vibe.
The hip hop rocking "Free" is spontaneous and bold contrasting
the acoustic rock layout of "Hot Cookin'." G. Love And Special
Sauce show themselves to be excellent showmen adrenalizing their audience
by winding up the chord progressions super tight and then opening
them up with giant releases, like the wavy motions of a roller coaster
ride. The music alludes to summertime fun with the chill out verses
flanking "Steppin' Stones" as G. Love's soul-blues harmonica
and porch folk-funk jams feel reminiscent of the music that families
make together while sitting on their front porch. The music does not
take the players any place but more in tune with each other. The swirling
sounds and esoteric tones on "No Turning Back" have a free
jazz improvisation anchored by indolent beats. The swamp blues creaminess
of the guitar reels on "Baby's Got Sauce" are similar to
Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. The tingling keyboards have
a Jerry Lee Lewis jump-blues jittering that jiggles around
G. Love's vocal raps. It's an excitable track that merges giddy retro
rock patterns with modern hip hop contortions.
The album softens with the breezy acoustic rock melody "Gimme
Some Lovin'" before turning up the decibels on the honky tonk/
hip hop amalgam "Cold Beverages." The juicy guitar glazes
partnered with the driven Wurlitzer create a tight relationship
as they kick out in time and pause for a tangy drum solo. The funk/rock
accents are a complementary combination riling up the audience with
series that stop and go, subsequently building up more muscle with
each interval. The swinging action is unpredictable and works up
the audience into a crescendo before letting go and releasing the
G. Love And Special Sauce's live album is a great addition to any
fans collections and for non-fans who might appreciate the impromptu
chemistry of the trio. It's very likely that some people who buy the
album won't even be avid fans of the band but just enjoy the band's
live personality. They create excitement when taken in live. The album
keeps the listener in that summertime mood of not going any place
important just enjoying the warm comforts of homespun hip hop/folk.
A trailer for the CD/DVD set can be viewed at: www.youtube.com/user/phillyglove
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