Thursday, 30 September 2010

Speedometer - The Shakedown - 2010 - Freestyle

Speedometer may be based here in the damp, grey and depressing UK BUT they have all the energy, funk and soul from any classic soul-funk group from the US in the early 70s. Think the JBs, The Meters and Wild Magnolias all rolled into one and you have the irrepressible Speedometer! By the way, having been on the scene for a decade these cats are not imitators. They have worked closely with some brilliant artists known and loved to us such as Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Sharon Jones and Sir Joe Quartermain as well as James Brown singer Martha High. The UK's leading Latin percussionist, Snowboy steps in and adds his magic, and he certainly has that aplenty. having seen him in action at the Southport Weekender back in 1992 I was, for one, well impressed. Here he is in 2010 doing his thing and still not failing to impress.

The album is FUNKY. If you fear gritty, deep resonant unadulterated FUNK then walk away quickly as this little funk bomb is about to explode! The tight opening song is a killer and is topped with singer Natasha Watts giving it her all and some blinding flute from John Wilmot. Come on, America...let's see what you're made of! The timbales are worked by Snowboy on the brilliant "La Nueva Manera" and the horns stab with real vigour and such professionalism. Having worked with the legendary Eddie Bo, it is fitting that the gang rework the classic Eddie Bo song "Lover And Friend". This is a cracking version and deserves as much radio play as possible. As well as quality radio such as Solar etc I hope the likes of BBC Radio 2's Craig Charles and Mark lamarr pick up on this also. US Soul Royalty Martha High steps to the mic and blows us away with a KILLER song called "Shakedown - the title of this fine release - and the vibe is soooooo perfectly 1970 - 1973 that it has to be believed. You could fool people with a song like this so easily as some hidden 70s gem. Such is the talent here. Local lad (well, to me at any rate!) Myles Sanko adds his able vocals and really makes this a memorable cut. Myles sings on "Dragging Me Down" too and needs no words of support from me. He is superb for this material and I would love to see him - and this band - live. An essential release from Freestyle.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe