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aec.arhr1921.2 9/16/03 New

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    Back To The Bottom Archer Records

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Review Text On their second release, Memphis' Gamble Brothers Band solidify their sound, meshing jazz, funk, soul, and to a lesser extent blues into a bubbling, innovative concoction. Led by Al Gamble's Hammond B-3 washes and gutsy, soulful vocals, the guitar-free quartet slips and slides through nearly an hour of music that could only have originated in the South. The group lays down a swampy groove on the closing instrumental "Caddilactopus," an eight-minute showcase of near telepathic interplay that finds them jamming within the constraints of melody similar to their hometown heroes and clear influences Booker T. & the MG's. Loose when they need to be but tight enough to pull off rearranged covers of Gary Wright's '70s chestnut "Love Is Alive" and even a frisky version of Randy Newman's "Little Criminals," they expertly navigate the tightrope between jams and intricate arrangements. Finger-snapping riffs like the one used as an intro to the instrumental "Escape Alley" recall the Meters, but their jazzy side and Art Edmaiston's creative sax playing pull these tunes away from the obvious and into their own territory. The wiry funk of "Tiki Bar" and the throbbing pulse of the self-explanatory "Land of Soul" captures nuances and a free-flowing sense of mature exploration that few bands exhibit this early in their career. Not every song finds the pocket, and the occasional missteps like the slightly lumbering "Old New One" and the jittery, confused ska/funk of "Share" show that the group still need to bring their songwriting and arrangement skills up the level of their instrumental proficiency. But the Gamble Brothers Band are onto something here and this album is an indication that, if marketed correctly, they have the chops, intelligence, and drive to cross over to a wider audience. ~ Hal Horowitz

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Record Store - 4:05
  2. 2. Back to the Bottom - 4:37
  3. 3. Love Is Alive - 4:33
  4. 4. Share - 4:08
  5. 5. Tiki Bar - 4:59
  6. 6. Come on Sam - 5:05
  7. 7. One Stone - 4:56
  8. 8. Escape Alley - 4:48
  9. 9. Old New One - 4:44
  10. 10. Land of Soul - 5:19
  11. 11. Little Criminals - 6:36
  12. 12. Cadillactopus - 8:00

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