The mid-'90s found G. Love And Special Sauce on the cusp
of commercial success breaking out of the niche they had carved
out for themselves in their hometown of Philadelphia. Their vats
of folk, rock, blues, and hip hop etudes have the hopping movements
of the Dave Matthews Band, the graceful swoons of Ben
Harper, and the cascading chants of Jack Johnson.
G. Love (Garrett Dutton) is still brandishing dishes of
Philly Soul with the members of Special Sauce (Jimi "Jazz"
Prescott on acoustic bass and Jeffrey "Thunderhouse"
Clemens on drums and percussion) but this time he is out on
his own with his solo release Lemonade on Jack Johnson's
label Brush Fire Records. Lemonade features guest appearances
from Ben Harper, Dave Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Blackalicious,
Marc Broussard, Tristan Prettyman, Lateef the
Truth Speaker, Donovan Frankenreiter, Jasper,
and Jack Johnson. The album was produced by Chris DiBeneditto
and recorded at Philadelphonic Studios in Philadelphia.
The songs make use of wide open spaces and infectious grooves
from the start with "Ride." The sunny upbeat odes and
hybrid of hip hop and blues licks jam into lustrous tones reminiscent
of Jason Mraz and David Gray. The crisp, clear harmonies
and blues vapors swirl with a hypnotic sway like Damien Rice.
The handclap beats of "Ain't That Right" keep a perky
tempo along the hip hop hewn vocal melody. The instrument parts
work to benefit the song from the spurts of bass pumps to the
"Hot Cookin'" has a fun vibe absorbed with rich bluesy
vocals that move the melody into dips and peaks. Donovan Frankenreiter
plays guitar on the track, but it's really the organ work of Steve
Molltz that owns this number. "Can't Go Back To Jersey"
has an animated vocal rhythm and a soulful organ jive by Mark
Boyce. The gospel spells on the vocal melody for "Missing
My Baby" are succor-flamed clamped by tightly sustained Wurlitzer
notes. "Banger" features Blackalicious and Lateef the
Truth Speaker on vocals emphasizing the hip hop features of G.
"Thanks and Praise" features Jasper with G. Love on
vocals and an arrangement of chill out grooves and wreaths of
toe tapping beats. "Let The Music Play" features Ben
Harper and Marc Broussard on vocals. The slow hip swaying tempo
of the melody is gentle and whimsical with an Island influx. "Beautiful"
features the lush feminine vocals of Tristan Prettyman
harmonizing with G. Love's vocal drumming. The harmonies are spellbinding
with a creamy elegance. It's a seductive number with all the entrapments
of romance and really brings out the finer points of G. Love's
vocals. "Rainbow" features Jack Johnson and has all
the classifications of a Johnson ditty with a traveling man motion
and a drifter's mindset.
"Breakin' Up" is a sparse tune with G. Love on vocals
and guitar and Jimi Prescott on upright bass. The thoughts in
the lyrical phrases have a roaming air: "Won't you let me
hug you/ Kiss you one more time
You know I can't hold back
these tears." The following tune "Still Hangin' Around"
with G. Love on vocals and 12-string guitar is an epilogue to
"Breakin' Up," lingering through the same deep thoughts
and still hanging on by a thread.
An unlisted track appears a few moments later, let's call it
"Foolin'" since that's the chorus. It's an upbeat tempo
with spikes of sharpness cutting through the melodic motions.
G. Love's solo release is exactly what he set out to make. Songs
that you can listen to and play along with while sitting on your
front porch sipping a cool glass of lemonade... hence the title
2. Ain't That Right
3. Hot Cookin'
4. Can't Go Back To Jersey
5. Missing My Baby
8. Thanks And Praise
9. Let The Music Play
13. Breakin' Up
14. Still Hangin' Around
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