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Mama's Gun: Golden Days

Reviewed by Barry Towler

Rating: 7/ 10

UK Légère Recordings CD, 2018

You Make My Life A Better Place / On The Wire / I Need A Win / Diamond In The Bell Jar / London Girls / The Spooks / We / Golden Days / Strangers On A Street / This Is The Day

SUPERB. I cannot fault this album. I was already won over on first listening. However, upon each play, the album grows on me more and more and gets deeper and deeper inside me. Not sure if you are aware of this five-man outfit from London, but their first album in 2009 saw some high moments, and two more albums came without much fuss, but this set trounces all others, hands down, hook line and sinker etcetera etcetera!

The best description of their latest album? Well, I guess that 'New Classic Soul' merged with warm West Coast flavours would be the most fitting description. The guys draw their inspirations from so many quarters - all of which warm my heart. Think George Duke, Sly & The Family Stone, Bob James, RAMP, The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and 70s Isley Brothers. ALL real instruments too, I should have you know!!!

The lead single You Make My Life A Better Place was a beautiful taster for this CD, and its joy, warmth and comforting mid 70s Motown California flow is an instant winner.

The album continues in a similar gorgeous vein. On The Wire echoes recent retro sounding material by the likes of Mayer Hawthorn, Sharon Jones & The Dapp Kings, and echoes Mamas Gun frontman Andy Platts' awesome work in the West Coast collaborative with for Ubiquity artist Shawn Lee under the title of Young Gun Silver Fox. Uptempo 70s soul hits with pumping horns and tight beats with London Girls. Golden Days with its expressive horns and wah-wah guitar really does take us back to the early 1970s but with a 2018 sensibility.

The KILLER for me really is The Spooks... a slow burner that utilises a gorgeous 70s squeeze box, sublime falsetto vocals and reassuring bassline. The Spooks is already one of THOSE records that I will have to dig out on a hot summer day. Just beautiful, and if you don't play this over and over and over again then I will eat my hat. Trust me, it's a big hat. And not easy to swallow. So, on that note I really hope that you stick with it! Fans of 70s AOR artists such as Pages or Ambrosia (even Lee Ritenour with Eric Tagg) will adore We and the floating midtempo Strangers On A Street echoes a beautiful blend of mid 70s Atlantic material with blue-eyed soul.

Following this album I would love a chance to see this band live. Their silkiness, energy, vibrancy and verve is bolstered by a sudden sense of reassurance and the results are plain to hear. It's called Golden Days and ignore this at your peril. Yet another astounding release of real soul music in 2018.
Barry Towler,
The Vibe Scribe

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