What’s Old is New – there’s a plethora of new instrumental funk and soul coming out with that retro feel from the 60s and 70s and Sunday Afternoon from The True Loves is a great album in that mold. Ain’t nothin that gets FunkCity.net going more that some great horn work and without a doubt this is a horn-driven album. It’s a little bit of an unusual array with two trombones, a tenor sax and a baritone sax but it’s so effective at playing that deep funk with a heavy bottom. Of particular note is the bari sax work from Skerik, who I wrote about two weeks ago coincidentally as a member of Garage a Trois.
The Seattle-based band is a mix of players from a number of different bands and includes Jimmy James and David McGraw of the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3). In fact, Seattle is a currently hot with funky bands including Polyrhythmics, The Dip, DLO3 and now these guys.
The closest comparison of The True Loves that comes to mind is The Menahan Street Band (MSB), the Daptone Records “house” band that shares some members with the Budos Band. MSB plays with that retro feel, and has some great soul and funk tunes like The True Loves.
On Sunday Afternoon, the band’s second album, every tune here is terrific with some real snap, crackle and pop. Check out the album track-by-track below.
‘Sunday Afternoon’ by the Seattle-based instrumental soul group True Loves is as sweet and carefree as the imagery provoked by its very title. The soul outfit’s sophomore LP provides a soundtrack for a block party that summons the entire neighborhood. From the zealous, up-tempo opening track “S.O.S” to the swagger-filled fanfare title track, you’ll find yourself wandering down a familiar road, noticing the scenery while relishing in curiosity. While every track can stand alone on the airwaves, ‘Sunday Afternoon’ as a whole is a direct reflection of a band comprised of seasoned musicians, all forces to be reckoned with, but larger than life when together.
S.O.S. sounds like an opener for a live set anticipating the main star to come out a la James Brown. It’s short and punchy and introduces the horns followed by a fine trombone solo for the main melody.
Objects in Mirror segues right from S.O.S. and has a hard driving horn line accented by baritone sax fills from the incomparable Skerik. Jimmy James has a nice back and forth with the horns before the head repeats. After a short drum solo, Skerik takes a bari solo and it’s dripping with funk. The A section repeats pretty much to the end.
Did It Again is a mid tempo soul groove with the horns providing the main voice and Skerik layering the bottom. There’s a mellow trombone solo as an offset to the main theme with some added horn punch lines. Midway, Jimmy James (guitar) and David McGraw (drums) change it up a little with a short bridge. they hit literally with a 1-2 punch and then the horns join the drums trading with Jimmy on guitar. They return to the head to close out this classic-sounding tune.
Robins Revenge starts with a drum and guitar riff and when the horns enter it hits me just like an old Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass tune. They establish the main theme and after about a minute there’s an excellent tenor solo from Gordon Brown. I really like the ghost note pauses before the band closes out with the final round.
First Impression starts with some jang-a-lang funk from Jimmy on guitar that he plays back and forth with the horns. It’s a neat matchup to establish the A sections. There’s another short solo from Gordon Brown and then he plays off the whole horn section for the first half of the tune. While the horns really come through strong here, Jimmy really shines on this tune and takes a short solo toward the end. Even when he’s not soloing his voice heard loud and clear. On the second live video, Jimmy’s solo is extended and it’s awesome
Yard Byrds has a cold, slow, low-end bass + guitar opening starts with the horns coming in with a chill downtempo main melody. Then the fun begins with an offset of the full horns with a baritone + flute matchup. Skerik then lights up the room with a stellar bari solo, really one of the most fun parts of the tune.
Sunday Afternoon, the title track has a fantastic, distinctive staccato horn opening. The horns establish the main theme and drive it forward. The B-section has another distinctive horn riff and then lightning strikes twice with Skerik on another bari solo. The horn call coming in again with Jimmy keeping pace is a treat. The cherry on top of this tune is the fun video also compiled.
Kabuki has Jimmy starting off with some funk and then the horns alone come in for a focused intro. When the bass and drums kick in the groove hits the bullseye. When the horns change pace, it’s reminiscent of some Tower of Power licks. There’s a nice bridge with a drum and percussion duo between David McGraw and Iván Galvaz. After the refrain, Skerik takes his third bari solo and drives right up to the end.
That’s Good has a little spaghetti Western feel at the opening with guitar percussion sequence. The horns establish the theme and then there’s some added flute accents dipped in. Midway there’s a strong trombone solo. There’s a little change of pace midway as the horns and Jimmy play a little cat and mouse back and forth for a bit. The main theme comes back with guitar and horns trading with a dash of flute for a little spice.
Lavender is one of the more interesting songs on the album. It starts with some horn fanfare as some of the others do but it takes a few twists and turns along the way. First there’s another cool trombone solo but here it’s passing off with some tenor sax followed in succession down the line to the next trombone and finally to bari sax. The main theme is introduced again by Jimmy. About midway, there’s a brief stop before the percussion comes back with just some jungle sounding tunes from the horn and the guitar, bass, percussion combo plays a super cool jazz section. There’s ample flute dosed in and each player comes forward to make a statement. It finally builds back to the main theme before fading to a missile launch sound – a real fun ending to an overall high quality album.
- Jason Cressey (Odesza/Monophonics) on trombone
- Greg Kramer (Macklemore) on trombone
- Gordon Brown on tenor sax and flute
- Skerik (Mike Clark/Fred Wesley/Charlie Hunter/Garage a Trois) on baritone sax
- Jimmy James (Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio)
- Bryant Moore on bass
- David McGraw (Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio) on drums
- Iván Galvaz on percussion