BUY THIS ALBUM: GOOD THINGS, BY ALOE BLACC
If you can listen to the several videos, particularly the ones with the full on band on stage, and not move, wiggle, twitch, nod, wrench that lip toward a smile or otherwise move any part of your body to the beat of this band and this singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc, then you need a vacation.
I got a short vacation right here in my computer chair watching a few of his tunes, two in Paris recorded live on the street and in a subway station and one on stage. It's been a LONG DANG TIME since a band, a singer, a musician, moved me to find more and more of his music to listen to. Usually one, maybe two songs and I've heard enough. And unfortunately, it's been that way for years.
And that singer today, was Aloe Blacc and his most excellent band. Here's his home page, and just click on that youtube video for a nice soul rocking tune called "I Need A Dollar", from a live show in Southpaw, New York.
His new CD or itunes will be in possession shortly.
But really, it had been too long until today that the music part of me, which is a big part of my being, jumped up and said WOW! THAT'S SOME GOOD MUSIC! IT'S MAKING ME FEEL GOOD LISTENING TO IT, AND I WANNA GO HOME AND THROW IT ON THE STEREO AND PLAY DRUMS ALONG WITH IT, THAT'S HOW MUCH I LIKE IT. GROOVING!
So go here to this GREAT blogger at the LA TIMES who blogs briefly about a 13 minute video Aloe and partial band did in the subway in Paris of Aloe's "I Need A Dollar", followed at about 7 minutes by a most excellent street busking cover of Bill Wither's "Use Me". http://iliketowatch.latimesmagazine.com/2010/10/aloe-blacc-i-need-a-dollar-a-take-away-show.html
The Withers cover blasting over the computer speakers brought Mrs. El Fisho out of the other room to hear who this was singing on this video. It's a French video that actually has pretty good sound for where it is recorded and the improptu manner of it's recording. The mix is excellent and I'm going to have to visit the website that made the vidcast or whatever it was but it was very well done. The whole thing was very well done in every way and was a much needed change in a short living portrait of a band.
I normally don't notice this sort of thing but it seemed like it was done on film rather than video. It had that warm feeling film has. Maybe they can make a digital video like film now in a photoshop type deal.
In any event, it's an interesting crowd study and they make a whole $1.50 doing the song in the subway landing. They then move outside, where it's raining a slight bit and that makes for an interesting semi-circle gathering. The recording is good, particularly for what it is and how quickly it was done, which was basically walk up and go for it.
It's a 13 minute music video and differently enough done with this excellent two tune Paris video by Aloe and his partial band. It looks to be a few members of his regular much larger band.
As a drummer who has done similar things, although not in Paris, I'd of had a snare drum and a bass drum pedal thrown up against that plastic guitar case the drummer was beating on and would have been playing off the guitar case with sticks as well, like a woodblock. But hey, I'm writing a blog and he's recording with this cool dude Aloe in Paris, so what do I know? The guitar case as conga drum/djembe/cajon worked very well for him and really got me moving.
That being said, I'm interested to know who the drummer is as well. He's grooving like nobody's business with the full band and there were not enough clips of his playing to suit me. He was into it, he was groovin' and he was breathing as one with the rest of the band. It doesn't get any better than that. Like I say, you can feel the electricity on stage between the members. They've got communication going on musically, they don't even need to look at each other.
The Home Page for Aloe has a youtube feed on it, and if I was hip and had the time to spend learning to imbed here, I'd do it. I'm sure it's simple, but it's much easier to link. Besides, his home page is interesting. The first video up I saw was a full band, a full tilt soul band with horns, drums, guitar, backup singers, keyboards and the same excellent bassist that stands out in the Paris videos. Great bassist. Don't lose that guy, Aloe.
So the important thing is that this guy sings like nobody's business. He's got a great band. It's not a "Blues Brothers" type band, full of stars young and old. It's a more cohesive band. They are not backing him for the most part, but playing with him and to him, a rare and difficult feat to execute with any coolness and soul, and the entire outfit oozes with both of those rare genuine qualities. Aloe is leading the band and somebody has to. You can feel their commitment to his music and feel the joy in their music. The band is having a rocking time.
He has his own voice. I'm sure someone will or has compared him to some great soul singer in the past, and to be sure, there's hints of others in some phrasing and certainly in some of the music played by the band. Motown. Stax. Atlantic. Soul big bands and soul combos. His players are tight and I'm looking forward to hearing more of his music because I think I'm going to like it.
My only suggestion would be a bit more guitar, but I'm apt to say that in many situations like that. Aloe has an excellent guitarist, playing a Strat in the band video, and if I'm right, he's capable of a nice blazing 30 second guitar solo, saying something I need to hear. So Aloe, let him say it. Same with that bass player, man. He's a monster. That bass little warm up before the Withers tune was very cool.
Here's some wiki about Aloe:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Orange County, California, U.S.
Soul, R&B, jazz, hip-hop
1995 – Present
Stones Throw Records
Aloe Blacc (born Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III in 1979 in Los Angeles) is an American soul singer, rapper, and musician. His first album, entitled Shine Through, was released by Stones Throw Records in 2006.
He began his career in 1995 as an MC in an indie rap group called Emanon. By the end of the 1990s, Blacc was a "stow away" on a Lootpack tour in Europe.
His music contains elements of jazz, R&B, soul, and hip hop.
He recorded a cover version of the John Legend song "Ordinary People" in Spanish entitled "Gente Ordinaria".
His song "I Need a Dollar" is the intro song for the HBO show How to Make it in America, and was featured as the iTunes Single of the Week. His album titled "Good Things" was released on September 30, 2010.