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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra
I'm Thankful

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

November 10, 2006
I'm Thankful is an album that was born out of a positive experience in collaboration, one that is better left in its separate parts. The idea behind the collective of Spanky Wilson and The Quantic Soul Orchestra is an interesting niche - (media) reborn soul lady backed by a young, tight band - and has been explored recently most notably by Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and Bettye LaVette.

Creatively speaking, Spanky & crew comes out somewhere between the styles of The Dap Kings and LaVette; a mostly soul-bound, funky rhythm and horn section led by a raspy, high-pitched female soul ballad songstress. In her heyday Wilson was known to rub 'bows with the musical elite - Marvin Gaye, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jimmy Smith. In 1985 she moved to Paris, introduced her sound to a new crowd, and soaked up some international praise. 15 years later Wilson returned to the US to a fresh generation of musicians and soul appreciators that included Quantic Soul Orchestra's Will "Quantic" Holland.

Holland and Wilson eventually got together for two tracks on Quantic's album Mishaps Happening, and felt good enough to press on with the resulting efforts coming in the form of I'm Thankful. While it seems like this could be the makings of any dusty groove lover's dream come true, the music of Wilson and QSO comes off better when hit in random spots. It becomes evident when listening straight through the 10 album cuts that Wilson's voice is better taken in spurts, her gritty timbre and sharp tone sometimes cutting a bit too deep into the ear canal. Additionally, Wilson's words aren't always top-shelf quality: her repetitious references to "judging a book by its cover" have been dulled out and the improvised banter at the end of some songs has little aim.

The most 45 rpm ready aspect of the album is the house band, The Quantic Soul Orchestra. Many times, with their superclean horn licks, bouncy basslines, and simple but tight drumming you'd think you were listening to the JB's all over again. During other moments the group is more predictable in their emulation, and not as infectious, but still fucking heady soul that no other group of musicians these days could even come close to touching.

Tracks like "I'm Thankful (Part 1)" and "Don't Joke With a Hungry Man (Part 3)" will have anyone yelling, "Just gimme some mo'!" Whether they further dig on the other cuts may determine how many more female soul singers we watch be reborn.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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