Try On ‘Leisure Suit’ From Organ Fairchild

Leisure Suit, is an old school funk fusion album with new era notions of jam. That’s right, it’s a leisure suit from the 70s that’s back with a flair and so much panache. That’s a lot of fancy words for an album that’s got great catchy tunes, some dramatic moments and great production values. Did I mention the band, Organ Fairchild has only been around since 2020 and is a breakout band in Buffalo, NY?

Well, get ready to be bowled over by this terrific trio. They mix their style from track to track but keep it interesting throughout. This is just the second album from the group following their 2021 debut ”Brewed in Buffalo.”

Track By Track

Leisure Suit, the opening, title track gives me the 70s like Booker T & the MGs meets The Young Rascals (Groovin’ On A Sunday Afternoon). It feels good and moves smooth. It’s a classic organ trio mix with that soothing sustained syrup groove from Joe Bellanti and a sweet warm summer-feeling solo from Dave Ruch on guitar.  

Chamelonious Monk kicks off with some power chords from Ruch and major kick drum from Corey Kertzie. The interplay between Ruch and Bellanti is a focal point of this power funk jam. 

The group explains the song’s unusual title this way: “In Organ Fairchild’s world, chamelon (not chameleon) rhymes with HAM-a-LAHN and refers to a person of exceptional ability and taste. And if you’re a chamelon, well, things you do are chamelonious. So now we’re getting dangerously close to jazz musician Thelonious Monk’s first name, so we added the word Monk to the title and included some signature Monk-like dissonant chords in the climbing part of the song (chords containing half-step intervals for the musicians out there…).”

Morning Coffee would be right at home at your local upscale cafe, bright piano opening with the trio cruising along. It shifts early into an almost Pat Metheny-esque tune with some great guitar and keys work. Bellanti lays down some amazing bass lines with his left hand, a deep groove that benefits from some incredible sampled electric and upright bass sounds. Then over the top the guitar solo midway just keeps the ride moving along. It’s an absolutely head-bobbing force. The return to the main theme with Bellanti with the brisk piano ending is a great way to start the day.

He’s Gone is the only cover song on the album with all three band members being huge Grateful Dead fans. Of course it’s got a bit of southern bluesy feel. Ruch is able to tell the story with a rollicking lead. There’s the short break midway which leads to upbeat rollout and fade.

Bobby Pins swings from the get go with crisp guitar licks, swirling organ and great pocket drumming from Corey. I feel like the video for this should have some booted go-go dancers in cages in the background. Fittingly the song was named after Corey misheard the name of a British beer, Boddingtons, and is one of the first songs the band put together back in 2020.

Glad You’re Here is one of my favorites on the album — it’s super upbeat and feels like riding on a ultra glide suspension. The main theme establishes itself like a well-oiled machine. It maximizes that B3 feel. The next section has Ruch ripping a stellar guitar lead. Then it’s back to the main glide along with Bellanti on organ before switching over to a massive synth section with Corey just slammin’ along. The last part with Bellanti on vibe sounding keys with Dave and Corey pounding along is amazing. Finally Bellanti switching back to synth for the main theme closeout. 

The Woodturner is a slow burner with a hymn-like feel. It’s another showcase for Ruch who says Mark Knopfler, Bill Frisell and Warren Haynes all factor in here as influences. The song was named by a fan’s mother for her late husband.  Ruch has a short emotive solo before handing it off to Bellanti for some inspired organ work, and then being rejoined by Ruch. The tune would fit well on any jam festivals lineup. It drops down to Bellanti back to the hymnal for the last minute.

Over the Handlebars starts with a funky beat plus some power guitar from Ruch before Bellanti comes in shadowing him.  The tune was written by Ruch with one hand on the guitar after a bicycle accident left him with a broken elbow. Ruch plays a curving  sharp guitar lead before Bellanti joins the trail. The guitar hits a super groove with some master plucking until about the 2.59 mark when you can hear the crash. After a short section presumably with Ruch, recomposing himself, the tune comes back strong with the main theme right up to the end.

Rusty Barge begins with just Bellanti on a sustained tone being joined by Ruch with a echoing and bending enchanting mantra. It’s perhaps the most mystical of the tunes, feeling like standing in the ocean as a rising tide envelops more and more of your being. As the band puts it, “engineer Justin Guip essentially coaxed this song from the band out of thin air in the studio, directing and tweaking effects pedals on the floor as they played.” The sound gets fuller and more encompassing right up to the end.

Organ Fairchild Is

Dave Ruch – guitars

Corey Kertzie – drums and percussion

Joe Bellanti – organ and keyboards