BluesWax Rating: 7 out of 10
A Sweet Soulful Step
There is a funkiness that floats around the world and Bluesmix has put a key on the kite string to catch lightning in a bottle. This UK-based group uses some soul influences in their blues to make a music that is their own. The melodies flow out of the organs or horns for most of this album. I can dig that, since there is so much guitar out there these days. Bluesmix really seems to have been listening to a lot of Booker T. and the MG’s, the HI Rhythm Section, and fellow countryman John Mayall, for good measure.
Bluesmix puts together a pretty chill album that has a creative flair all their own. The Memphis/Mayall concoction takes two worlds that are in the same solar system and brings one into the other’s orbit. That said, these songs are about their feel and not showing off. Each instrument plays its part in the song.
Rob Fleming’s guitar work reminds me of Skip Pitts’ work from Stax/Hi Records with the scratchy wah sounds. Bob Morgan has an organ that’s a screaming voice and never wastes a moment. Morgan also plays sax with such a laid-back beat you can hear the ghost of Andrew Love on here. The rhythm section is Emil Engström dropping a heavy bass and Ivan Kormanak keeping a tight beat. I will say that the rhythm section could get into a tighter groove, they just keep the songs going instead of pushing the songs forward. That is where this album doesn’t pop out, that’s where some albums become classics.
Flat Nine is an album I’m glad I got to spend some time with. These cats have a strong mojo in their fingertips. I can’t point out a certain song on this disc because the disc itself plays as a unit. Eleven songs that stream together so well once you pop you can’t stop. There are albums that I can safely say to pick and choose songs to buy as mp3s. This is an album that if you like one song as a sample, jump in ’cause I bet you can’t eat just one.
Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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