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Issue 1088

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Review

Knee Deep: Shake (Ari records)

Knee Deep: Shake (Ari Records)

8

6.2

Rate this Album

UK release date 02.05.2011

What happens when you get a bunch of top session guys together (who combined have played with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan the list is ENDLESS but you get the drift) well they do the sensible thing and go back to the FUNK! Yes Knee Deep are a brand new outfit featuring ex AWB sax player Malcom Duncan, whizzo muso, Arden Hart and the groovetastic Tony Mason on drums with a few other top players on board.

You can really feel the love on this their first effort. Opening track "Knee Deep" sets a high benchmark in groove.It reminded me of US band Confunction, crisp behind the beat bursts English bands rarely reach, Ohio here we come!

"Nobody's Soldier" really sits sweetly as the band mix politics with funk,funkolitcs. Funk has never shied away from the truth! Touch of "Southwick" by the JB'S creeps in to this slowburner humdinger of a tune. "Cool Fool" carries on with it's taut swinging horns and some mighty bone playing adds a whole heap to this well arranged ditty. The guys are just following on in the tradition and maintaining high, high, standards good gawd!

"My Lady" sees the band switch into soul mode giving the funk a rest on this beautifully syncopated slab of seduction with the sweetest guitar trills-R&B heaven!

It's not until track five when the tempo switches to overdrive and "Stand up" you really hear that AWB vibe in the horns and Peter Tosh in the sentiment...a cool tune for your delectation.

The playing is what you'd expect as the saying goes form is temporary and class is permanent, Knee Deep are sheer class and you sense the enormous fun these guys are having because it all comes out in these wonderful songs and funk jams.

My fave on the album is "Sly" which captures the man Stone to a Tee! Knee Deep are Knee Deep in the pocket and have produced a well honed and rounded piece of funk blessedness with love care and attention to detail. Word up!
Words Emrys Baird

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