Get this crazy baby off my head!


The New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds - 102% - 2007 - One Note Records

It won't take long -- maybe ten seconds into the first cut -- to know that the Meters are a primary influence on the U.K.'s New Mastersounds. The opening title track is such a ringer for "Cissy Strut" that you may check your CD sleeve to see if the discs weren't accidentally swapped. As the album unwinds, though, the all-instrumental quartet reveals more of its own identity: a sort of acid jazz mixed with crisp early-'70s funk grabbed from New Orleans' finest. Certainly drummer Simon Allen has been practicing to his Zigaboo Modeliste records, and it's his attack that principally drives the sound. The interplay between organ and Eddie Roberts' guitar carries the melody, but this band's motor is powered by its formidable rhythm section. Despite the Meters fixation, the New Mastersounds marry a somewhat retro approach with a contemporary spin that makes this fusion perfect for Austin Powers lovers. There is no denying that these guys bring the Southern funk, but the mix of their Brit jazz sensibilities and chops fine-tuned for maximum danceability spins the music in a unique direction. There's also more than a little Booker T. & the MG's here, especially in guitarist Roberts' sparse, choppy leads that echo those of Steve Cropper. What's most impressive, though, is how the band locks together. No member hogs the spotlight as these 14 tightly arranged zingers, most of them hovering just over three minutes, trim off the fatty jam tendencies that often sink similar combos by concentrating on compressed licks that kick out of the speakers with terse precision. The group shifts into pseudo psychedelics on the closing "Paranoid (Is It Any Wonder?)" as Roberts approximates a Cream-era Clapton-styled distortion that doesn't entirely resonate but at least shows a willingness to experiment and push boundaries. A few stabs at a lounge style also come up rather short, but the snappy funk is never more than a track away. Guest reedman Rob Lavers adds some old Crusaders-type horn work on a few songs, assisting a band that's already as in the pocket as they come. © Hal Horowitz © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/102-mr0001685730

The New Mastersounds are four chaps with some serious funk chops. Hailing from Leeds in the UK, they revel in the soulful music that has long been all the rage in Northern England. Having rightfully gained a reputation for out-Metering The Meters, their latest effort, 102% is another retro-fueled funkathon that sees the band expanding its range into previously unexplored territory. Of course, funk is still the bread and butter of this band, and 102% delivers a heavy diet of it. A serious groove is laid down in "33 (A Fine Year to Die)," with Bob Birch dropping in the perfect accents on his bubbling Hammond B-3. Pete Shand's nimble bassline locks in perfectly with Eddie Roberts’ greasy guitar to give "Give Me a Minute (Pt 2)" the nastiness it needs. And the title track delivers the killer Meters-like strut we’ve come to expect from The New Mastersounds. Similar sentiments are also echoed by the deep pocket of Return to Gijón which relies heavily upon Simon Allen’s pulsating backbeat to create an intoxicating rhythm that will have hips grinding and appendages flailing. Not content to stay stuck in the funk zone, 102% dips its toes into a couple of other related pools. On the prime soul jazz of "Carrot Juice," Roberts' ripping guitar would make Grant Green, Jr. blush, while Shand's nimble bass and Allen's superkinetic drums combine for a rock solid rhythm section. Toss in some hyperactive organ from Birch and you got yourself one of the best tracks on the album. The dance party continues with hip-shaking aplomb on Talk Is Cheap, a jazzy number that employs some excellent breakbeats and cool sax solos from guest Rob Lavers. Afrobeat filtered through a lens of Curtis Mayfield is on the docket as Hey Fela! pays tribute to Fela Kuti while sounding as if the tune belonged on the soundtrack to a 1970s blaxploitation film. The album concludes with two space-age, trippy numbers, L.A. Root Down (Dub Side of The Pier) and Paranoid (Is It Any Wonder?). The former is a chilled-out bopper that features Birch experimenting with off-kilter effects and figures on his Fender Rhodes, and the latter is an intense head-spinner that swirls with washes and plenty of weirdness. Most of the tracks on 102% are upbeat cuts with very danceable grooves, making this an excellent party album. Even the more experimental songs still have a familiar and addictive beat, and it’s on these numbers that The New Mastersounds set themselves apart from other bands. While many would be content to crank out discs full of mere retrofunk, The New Mastersounds are not interested in re-creating the past; rather they are taking vintage sounds and attitudes and merging them with modern ideas. The result is an addictive blend that has one foot in the past, one foot in the present, and both eyes on the future. © Brian Ferdman - Jambase.com - February 2007

Great heavy soul/acid jazz funk, with a retro psychedelic rock flavour from a great British soul funk band. Listen to TNM’ “Live at San Francisco” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 125 Mb]


1 102% 3:01
2 Witness 5:25
3 Carrot Juice 6:02
4 Thirty Three 3:15
5 Colorado Sun (Jesse's Backyard) 4:33
6 Give Me a Minute, Pt. 2 3:20
7 Rope-A-Dope 2:13
8 Hey Fela! 5:27
9 Bus Stop No. 5 3:16
10 Return to Gijón 3:21
11 Forgiveness 3:13
12 Talk Is Cheap 3:27
13 L.A. Root Down (Dub Side of the Pier) 2:50
14 Paranoid (Is It Any Wonder?) 6:09

All tracks composed by Bob Birch, Eddie Roberts, Pete Shand, and Simon Allen except “Give Me A Minute (Pt 2)” by Birch, Roberts, Shand, Allen, & C. Gutjahr, and “Witness” composed by Rodney Smith


Eddie Roberts – Guitar, Tambourine
Pete Shand - Bass Guitar
Bob Birch - Hammond Organ, Fender Rhodes
Simon Allen - Drums
Rob Lavers - Saxophone, Flute
Richard Formby - Tape Effects


One of the cornerstone acts of the U.K. retro-soul scene, the New Mastersounds play taut old-school instrumental funk with a contemporary energy and enthusiasm that has earned them rave reviews and led them to collaborate with a number of major acts in Britain and the United States. the New Mastersounds were formed in 1999 by guitarist Eddie Roberts, who was DJ'ing at a weekly club night in Leeds devoted to classic soul and funk. When the event moved to a new venue that covered two floors, Roberts saw the opportunity to add a live band to the mix, and he recruited drummer Simon Allen, who had previously played with Roberts in a band called the Mastersounds. With the addition of Pete Shand on bass and Bob Birch on piano and organ, the new act was complete and in tribute to their old group, Roberts and Allen dubbed the combo the New Mastersounds. It didn't take long for word about the New Mastersounds to spread, and in 2000 they released a pair of 7" singles on Blow It Hard Records drawn from early rehearsal tapes. In 2001, they recorded their first full-length album, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds, which was issued on Darge's Deep Funk label; the album earned enthusiastic reviews and top DJs such as Cut Chemist, Pete Rock, and DJ Shadow sampled their grooves. Their second LP, 2003's Be Yourself, included guest vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae, and following a third studio set, 2005's This Is What We Do, the band documented the sound of its fabled live sets on 2006's Live at La Cova, recorded at a club gig in Spain. In 2006, the New Mastersounds briefly expanded to a five-piece with the addition of Rob Lavers on sax and flute (a number of guest horn players have recorded and toured with the group over the years), but he parted ways with them in 2007, the same year Bob Birch left the lineup, making way for new keyboard man Joe Tatton. As the New Mastersounds toured clubs and festivals around the world, they continued to attract new fans, including American funk legends Art Neville of the Neville Brothers, Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley of James Brown's J.B.'s, and George Porter Jr. of the Meters, all of whom have jammed with the combo on-stage. In 2008, they collaborated with vocalist Dionne Charles on the album Plug & Play, and in 2009 they celebrated their tenth anniversary with the appropriately titled Ten Years On, which included guest spots from Grace Potter, Chip Wickham, and Skerik. Having established a strong fan base in the U.K., Europe, and Japan, in 2011 the New Mastersounds began looking to the United States; during a stay in Texas they cut the album Breaks from the Border, which featured vocals from the group members for the first time. © Mark Deming © 2014 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-new-mastersounds-mn0000951908/biography


A.O.O.F.C said...


P/W is aoofc

mushley said...

Nice, this and Matt Bianco.. whats next Haggis Horns /Ray Harris...

British playing still marvellous, like that acid jazz .. great Genre

keep up the good work

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,mushley. Thanks. I may post some Spritney Beers! If it's got merit, I'll post it. Haggis Horns...Good idea! Stay posted. TVM..Paul

francisco santos said...


A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers,Francisco! TVM & TTU soon...Paul