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JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

Want More

12" LP

Availability: In stock

$15.99

Quick Overview

Welcome JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound: a group who have heating up Chicago the past few years with their brand of Motown throwbacks with a post-punk edge, a charismatic frontman with movie-star looks, and plenty of soul to spare.

Details

The Bloodshot label, generally known for its "insurgent country" music, releases its first soul album, and while the tendency is to call this "insurgent R&B," Chicago-based singer JC Brooks and his white trio are closer to garage soul. Along the lines of Austin's Black Joe Lewis and Brooklyn's Dap-Kings, the group finds its groove in the tough '60s rumble of Stax and Motown before the latter became overly commercialized. Brooks has a convincing tenor voice and the songs, predominantly written or co-composed by guitarist Billy Bungeroth, tap into the raw power of Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett at their most rootsy. Added sweetening from guest horns, keyboards, and background singers fleshes out the sound, but keeps things unpolished and, well, at least somewhat insurgent. When the band hits a get-down funky James Brown backbeat as on "Baaadnews," it nails a frisky "Cool Jerk" vibe that is inescapable and hip-shaking. Brooks shifts to falsetto for the smooth, string-enhanced Philly International-styled "To Love Someone (That Don't Love You)" (one of only two covers, this one originally performed by obscure Chicago soul group the Kaldirons), but ballads are not what the outfit is about. Rather, they excel at a harder-edged R&B, frequently with offbeat themes as on the interestingly named "Sister Ray Charles," a title that never appears in the song's lyrics. The other cover, Wilco's "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," is given a fascinating, surging rearrangement and is stamped with the seal of approval from no less an authority than Jeff Tweedy. There's a nod to the Fine Young Cannibals in the finger-popping "Good Thing" Motown beat of "Everything Will Be Fine," and while little is unique, there's plenty of energy and enthusiasm to go around. Brooks and company take an unlikely detour on "Missing You" that seems like they have been listening to the Band, and close with an Impressions/Curtis Mayfield-inspired, politically charged "Awake," a sweet ballad with somewhat clich├ęd "this train is bound for glory" words that mix some gospel into the approach. Nothing is extended past its breaking point and the disc winds up in just over half an hour. But, like the best albums soul or otherwise, it leaves you -- as the title says -- wanting more.

Additional Information

Artist JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
Track Listing 1 Want More - 3:06 2 Everything Will Be Fine - 3:29 3 I Got High - 3:32 4 I Am Trying To Break Your Heart - 3:33 5 Don't Lock the Door - 3:24 6 Baaadnews - 2:58 7 To Love Someone (That Don't Love You) - 4:03 8 I Can See Everything - 2:46 9 Missing Things - 3:55 10 Sister Ray Charles - 3:25 11 Awake - 3:20

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