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G. Love And Special Sauce
A Year And A Night With G. Love And Special Sauce
Brushfire Records
www.philadelphonic.com


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 entangled chords.

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

-Susan Frances


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