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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Mama's Cookin'

Mama’s Cookin’

Review by Gary Hill

Mama’s Cookin’ has a catchy retro rock texture with hip hop elements added to the recipe. This is tasty music that’s sure to please the healthy appetites in all of us for great music. There’s plenty of stuff that will feel familiar while we get ingredients with an exotic nature, too. Whatever your tastes, give Mama’s Cookin’ a try. It’s musical soup for the rock and roll soul.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at

Track by Track Review
Run Up Quick
This is a funky hard rocker that has hints of hip hop along with classic hard rock and roll. There’s a killer retro keyboard solo on this. We also get a tasty slide guitar solo. It’s a good cut, but it seems to run a little long.
What I Am
A slower piece, this is a smoking hot bluesy rocker. The vocals have serious hip hop texture on this one, too. It should be mentioned that there’s a definite “f bomb” on the cut.
Aquarius Skies
Here we get a more straight ahead hard rocker. This doesn’t really have the hip hop nature to it. Instead it feels like a fired up sort of retro rocker, more along the lines of Black Crowes. There are some killer retro instrumental textures on this.
Another funky piece this is closer to the opener. It’s good, but not exceptionally noteworthy. 
Now, here’s something quite cool. This is a jazzy, spacey sort of jam. It’s got a very definite hip hop/R & B element to the vocals. The music is just so tasty. 
Ann Marie
This number seems sort of between the last one and some of the earlier music. I like this one quite a bit, but it’s not at the same level as the previous number. 
Tough Times
From the good to the great, this is purely sublime. It’s got a jazzy, bluesy sort of jam with a more full on hip hop vocal line. This is gritty and tasty. It’s modern and retro at the same time. It’s also one of the pure highlights of the CD. 
Symbols & Signs
Guitar opens this with a bluesy groove and the group take it into a retro funky neighborhood from there. This is probably the least hip hop like track on show here and it’s got a great classic rock meets jam band and space music feeling to it. 
Black Reign
Here’s a killer funky jam. This is gritty and fun. It’s rather Lenny Kravitz-like but does move out into a rap.
We get a soulful, rubbery jam here. It’s another cool tune. It’s not really a standout, but it’s very tasty.
One of a Nerve
The piano motif that starts this off makes me think of Carol King or someone of that era. They create a vocal and piano ballad from there. A full verse and chorus go by in that manner before they bring in the other instrumentation to power it up. This has a catchy groove and is a lot of fun. It’s actually one of the stronger cuts on show here and a great way to end things on a high note.
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