Isotopia Records [Release date 23.08.19]
In the nicest possible way, the first word that comes to mind as ‘Super Bon Bon’ the opening track of ‘Feed The Wolf’ unfolds is “sweaty”. Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf’s second album feels dirty and raw; little wonder after cultivating their live act on the road supporting Parliament Funkadelic in over 100 shows.
Lead singer, Miss Velvet is a New York native and brings a swagger and sass that immediately encourages the listener to imagine they’re getting hot and heavy at a concert. The horns are tight while the bass work by Jimi Beamon brings heft, all building to a glorious cacophony as Miss Velvet screams “you’re my Super Bon Bon baby!” What’s lacking in lyrical subtlety, is made up for in sheer fun.
The fun continues into the next track ‘Phat Blunt’, as Dr Funkenstein himself, George Clinton shows up to provide some spoken word verses or as George would no doubt put it “pee on it”. As she commands her lover to “fall to your knees, get your mind wet”, in her sultry and raspy tones, Miss Velvet evokes Tina Turner as she is very much the one in control. Constance ‘C-Diddy’ Hauman deserves mention here for some crazy keyboards, the effect taking the listener into another sci-fi trip to planet funk.
On the last Funkadelic record, 2014s ‘First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate’, Clinton conflated the worlds of Funk and rock, notably collaborating with metal band, God’s Weapon on the song ‘Dirty Queen’. Title song ‘Feed The Wolf’ is in a similar vein, a headbanger amongst the floortappers.
The live feel continues with ‘FSL’, a dense number derived from a jam sensation with a tongue-in-cheek rap from TJ Robinson. A key factor in any funk ensemble is the musical interplay and every member of the band gets an opportunity to shine. There is a cute aborted fade-out before the horns come back in with extra sauce. The fast and loose playing with genres calls to mind Living Colour, another band that refuses to be pigeonholed.
Rounding out the album is ‘Sweet Intoxication’, a sultry ballad dripping in honey and sexy guitar from Henry ‘The Dude’ Ott. This Miss Velvet penned number feels like an R&B ballad of a bygone era, in the vein of ‘Sweet Love’ by Anita Baker – quite the achievement. ‘Feed The Wolf’ is a production that just oozes class all the way, incredible production value and precision songwriting. ****
Review by Phillip Beamon
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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