One Foot In The Groove
Take It To The Bridge
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © September 2023
After twenty-six years on the road, the popular soul blues band The Boneshakers are celebrating their legacy with a deluxe re-issue of their studio album One Foot In The Groove. The re-release includes five live bonus tracks and by the time you read this, it will be available digitally, worldwide on Take It To The Bridge Records – https://www.takeittothebridgerecords.com/
Led by celebrity guitarist Randy Jacobs of Was (Not Was), The Boneshakers have ushered in a new era welcoming vocalist Jenny Langer (of Moonshine Society) for a full-length album of no-holds barred funk, blues, and rock that marries the sound and spirits of Detroit, Memphis, and Muscle Shoals.
For this project, Randy and Jenny are joined by: Nathan Brown on bass; John Gilutin on keys; Sergio Gonzalez on drums; and the Texacali Horns who are Joe Sublett on trumpet and Mark Pender on sax. Other guests include: Sir Harry Bowens and Bernard Fowler on vocals; Oliver Leiber on guitar; with Arthur Thompson and Lessly Fisher on percussion and vocals. Of the disc’s fifteen tracks, there are three originals and eight covers (with four of the covers repeated as part of the live bonus tracks).
As the titled should indicate, “I Am The Blues” (Julian Burdock) is very blues forward. With a mighty rhythm from the hands of Sergio (drums), Nathan (bass), and Jon (organ) going on behind them, Randy and Jenny are all over this one. From beginning to end – including a nearly minute long, mid-song solo – Randy is stretching notes, bending strings and sliding all over his ax; while Jenny is using that patented sassy style of hers to belt the hell out of the blues with a most impressive powerful and range defying vocal performance. One need not listen much further to realize these two were a match made in heaven.
I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever heard Steven Van Zandt’s original version of this song, and I’m not even going to do so because The Boneshakers are nailing their rendition of “Ain’t Got The Fever No More”. Once again: more good rhythm – this time with highlights from the Texacali cats; more great lead and slide guitar; and with some extra support from Sir Harry, more good vocals.
Remember that classic song titled ‘Big Legged Woman’ that along with some from other genres, just about every soul blues artist covered? Well, this original by Randy and Jenny titled “Big Legged Man” has absolutely no connection whatsoever. This one is a rocked out, funk filled, rhythm fueled dance floor filler with a catchy sing-a-long chorus line. FYI, with what Jenny has planned for him, should she find him, that big legged guy is going to be one happy man.
The title track, “One Foot In The Groove” (Donnie Fritts), has a lot going on instrumentally. Of course, Jenny has her footprint all over the song with her usual blues belting, but the thunderous rhythm and toe to toe battling of Randy and Jon, on the guitar and organ, all take center stage on this one.
One of the disc’s slower and most soulful tracks is a duet between Jenny and Bernard titled “I Forgot To Be Your Lover” (William Bell/Booker T. Jones). If you’re going to go toe to toe with Jenny on a powerful, high range vocal run, you’d better be up to the task and wow, Bernard certainly was. That said, along with pulling that off, where the song called for silky soft harmonies, that was nailed as well. I’d like to go on record as saying I could listen to a lot more of these two together.
Anyone who has ever read my reviews knows that I am a sucker for a ballad sung by a good female vocalist. Backed by a masterful rhythm highlighted by soft piano and guitar leads, Jenny runs away with it on “Ice Cream And Cigarettes” (Sophie Baudry). Brilliantly performed songs like this always make my job longer – I know I spent at least thirty minutes listening to this slightly over three-minute song.
This is the first of the five bonus tracks that were recorded live in a studio. All of them are stripped down giving them a relaxing, acoustic vibe. It’s a beautiful original love song titled “Teach Me How To Stay”. Showcasing her versatility, Jenny eases into a somber mood over possibly having to leave another relationship. Instead, by hoping to avoid it from happening, she makes a heartfelt plea to her man for him to show her another way and teach her how to stay. Musically it features fabulous guitar picking from Randy and great percussion from Arthur.
Other tracks on the re-release of One Foot in The Groove include: “Mr. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (Bob Dylan/Don Was/David Was); “Let’s Spend The Night Together” (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards); “More, More, More” (Clarence Reid); “Powerful Notions” (Randy Jacobs”; and the live versions of “I Am The Blues”, “Big Legged Man”, “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and “Ice Cream & Cigarettes”.
Should you like to find out more about The Boneshakers, just go to the bands website – www.officialboneshakers.com. As usual, wherever you go and whomever you speak with, please tell them the Blewzzman sent you.
“The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy”
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient