If you like vintage 70's funk and soul, mixed with some serious Hammond B3 licks and biting guitar work, then the latest from The Boogie Hustlers, 122 Ellsworth, will certainly scratch that itch you have been having for some tasty groove music. This eight piece ensemble, which features vocals, guitars, drums, sax, trumpet, keyboards, and bass, brings to mind many influences from acts such as Van Morrison, Chicago, The Allman Brothers, Weather Report, George Benson, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Curtis Mayfield. With plenty of funk, jazz, soul, and rock in their suitcase, The Boogie Hustlers tear through eleven tracks of groove laden music that is sure to get your feet tappin' and your fingers snappin'.
There's a good mix of vocal and instrumental pieces here. Of the instrumental tunes, "Nakama" is a bitchin' Hammond driven number, which sees Skip Sanders delivering some tasty B3 runs (although in the band now is keyboard player Greg Barbone) alongside the soaring trumpet of Sean Bell and the squonking sax of Darnell Anderson. The title track is a funky, jazzy treat, with more than a hint of Weather Report, thanks in part to the popping bass work of Jason Sari. Of course there's the fiery fusion romp "White Knight", a real barnburner with scorching sax solos, screaming wah-wah guitar leads, and tight drum work from Dave Jamison. Shades of early Chicago can be heard on the wild "Vince Lost It", complete with raging Hammond, plenty of horns, and a seriously rampaging wah-wah guitar solo from Sean Rig, who sounds so much like the late Terry Kath it's scary.
On the vocal side, you get some memorable melodies on songs like "Hope is Alive", "Let it Ride", and "Satisfaction of You", all which feature the smooth voice of James Wylie, who really has a perfect voice for this band, as he interjects a great blend of R&B, soul, and funk. "Hit it Runnin' " is a great blend of rock, soul, funk, and jam band styles, with some nifty guitar licks, bright horns, and a powerful vocal from Wylie.
You'll be clapping your hands and movin' to the groove in no time with this fun album from these Pittsburgh musicians. Produced by Poogie Bell, 122 Ellsworth is an all around great sounding disk that has plenty of smooth sounds as well as fiery instrumental interplay that is sure to please a wide variety of listeners.
1. 122 Ellsworth
2. Hope is Alive
3. Let it Ride
5. Satisfaction of You
6. I Believe...This Ain't Livin'
7. White Knight
8. Watched You Fly
9. Vince Lost It
10. Hit it Runnin'