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Jo James

Midnight Dealin'

Review by Gary Hill

Jo James' sound is very classic in nature. It's a sound of soulful music with jazz and blues mixed into its heart and core. This is most often than not both fresh and old school at the same time. This set is always effective and entertaining.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Blackened My Heart
This powers in with a killer soulful groove. The horns lend some real classic texture, and the vocals are just so classy. The tune feels like a cross between James Brown and Lenny Kravitz. It's fresh, but also timeless. The guitar solo on this has a sound that's retro and the horn showcase that follows emphasizes that.
Midnight Dealin'
A mellower groove, this has a some killer soul and more on display. The sound of this has a bit more of a modern R&B sound, but there is still plenty of classic old school blues and funk built into this. I particularly dig the sound on the guitar solo segment.
Gypsy Soul Ft. Dave Scher
The funk really comes home to roost on this smoking hot number. Lenny Kravitz is a valid reference point on this tune, too. The piano solo is all class, but I really dig the guitar soloing later in the track, too. While this has a lot of funk built into it, it also has plenty of old school jazz in the mix, too.  That guitar solo brings some blues to the table. Of course, you can't really have jazz without blues, so it goes without saying.
Want To Be Found
I dig the cool mellow groove on this thing. The cut has some Lenny Kravitz in the mix, perhaps blended with something like Joe Cocker. The horn is rather understated, but also very classy. I suppose that's a good description for the whole song, really.
I Don't Mind
The Lenny Kravitz meets James Brown vibe is back in charge here. This has more of a modern texture than some of the rest. Still, it's timeless as well. There is a lot of funk built into this thing, too.
Miss Chevelle ft. Tamara Mack
This is a full on acoustic blues treatment. It doesn't work as the rest here, and personally, I think the set would be stronger for it. It's not a bad tune. It's just something that seems like it belongs on a different album and sort of breaks up the continuity of this one. I'm guessing that it might be a bonus track. In which case, that goes with the territory.
 
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