Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

black_joe_lewis

Good old R&B is alive and kicking in 2009 despite the over produced bland stuff that often now carries the same name.

R&B should sound like this from the BRILLIANT Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

“Gunpowder” – Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

 

tell 'em what your name is

James Brown lives on!

Black Joe Lewis, formed in Austin, Texas in 2007 is a blues band influenced by Howlin’ Wolf and James Brown.

Their first full length album “Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is!” was released during July  2009. The album was produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno.

In the credits listed on Black Joe Lewis’ debut CD, the 27-year-old Texan thanks “Mom, God. James Brown and Barack Obama”. We can only guess what his mother and the Almighty might make of raw’n’raunchy songs like Humpin and Big Booty Woman, but the US President has already endorsed Lewis and the Godfather of Soul would probably have tipped a wink – and maybe even an appreciative scream – in the direction of a man on a mission to keep alive the funk-punk, brass-blasting, “soul-shouting” style Brown and Wilson Pickett pioneered back in the Sixties.

Growing up in the small town of Round Rock, Texas, Lewis was more interested in football than the old soul and blues music his father played. But aged 19 he took a job at a pawnshop in nearby Austin – and an awful lot of guitars moved through a shop like that in the “Live Music Capital of the World”. So one day the bored teenager picked one up, taught himself to play and soon acquired a reputation at local open-mic nights for his wild stage antics which reliably included hurling himself to his knees, Hendrix-style. He assembled the seven-piece Honeybears to support Little Richard in 2007 and created a Southern fried sound that’s three parts vintage Stax soul to two parts modern garage punk.

Horns and percussion squeeze as tight as James Brown’s trousers, while retaining the rackety spontaneity of a band you’d catch playing for beers down some honky tonk back alley. There’s a seriously Seventies groove to the organ that crawls the kerbs of the slower numbers like an old Dodge Sedan.

Meanwhile, Lewis has fun yelping out screwball tales of fleeing from the law into the arms of women whose names he’s forgotten, adding a new bag of self-aware, 21st-century humour to the ”sex machine’’ boasts of his hero. Apparently he makes up all his songs as he goes along, which accounts for both the reckless energy and the occasional drifts into formulaic retro pastiche. But it’s impossible to resist getting on up, laughing and dancing.

Telegraph rating: * * * *

Review from www.telegraph.co.uk

 

To buy the music of Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears click HERE

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November 16, 2009 - Posted by | Blues, New Music, R&B, Video |

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