Rue de Funk
" Weather the Storm "
BluesWax Rating: 8
Louisiana Funk with Chops!
Trumpeter Bobby Campo grew up playing in rhythm and blues bands. In the late 1970s Campo helped form Louisiana's Le Roux, scoring a hit on Capitol Records. Remember "New Orleans Ladies?" Around this time he started a longstanding association with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, a relationship that stayed intact until Brown's passing. Campo nailed a steady gig teaching. His mentor Lee Fortier (trumpeter with Woody Herman) died in January 1989. Campo was asked to finish the school year and has been there since. Campo is also a Big Easy contract trumpet player working with Dr. John, The John Mahoney Big Band, and Luther Kent. This is Campo's second recording as producer and solo artist. His first LP was a jazz quartet disc titled Bobby Campo.
Fast forward to now. Campo assembled drummer John Jones, bassist Donald Ramsey, guitarist Shane Theriot, pianist and co-producer Mike Esneault, with a horn section consisting of sax players Clarence Johnson III, and Tony Dagradi, Bonerama's Mark Mullins, and Campo's trumpet. All tracks are instrumentals except for two, one with Big Luther Kent and another with Ali Bordes. Eleven tracks are offered, all originals written by Campo and/or pianist Mike Esneault and one co-authored by Campo and Esneault.
Campo's title track, "Weather the Storm," bounces directly into your ears with Donald Ramsey's thumping bass lines, solid drumming from John Jones, and heady keyboards by Mike Esneault. The horns kick in, and it's apparent that this recording is going to be a top shelf grooving affair. Can you say funky?
Campo's "The Big K" is another pumping tune driven by the tight rhythm section, a killing solo from Bonerama's Mark Mullins, and a heady guitar passage courtesy of Shane Theriot. This "Special K" is definitely fat in its construction, well written, and not for those on a slender Kellogg's diet.
Luther Kent shifts the groove to a more rhythm and blues mode on Campo's and Esneault's "It's You That I Love" where Kent's in fine vocal form, and the band provides excellent backing for Luther's immediately identifiable and unique singing chops.
Esneault's "Sloppy Joe" sounds to me like a tune that could have appeared on Billy Cobham's first album Spectrum. It has that "Red Baron" vibe. Campo's "Street Dancin'" is another strong composition that oozes happiness and prances smartly with an almost African rhythmic feel but, as you'd expect, captures the Crescent City funk essence.
This albums finale, Esneault's "Mud Buggin'," is a tune that will have your hands and feet tapping, offering some serious syncopations and structural changes that are fascinating. Mark Mullins joins the fray and really nails his bone solo with a smart piano bridge and short solo from Esneault.
Looking for a cool party disc that your friends can dance to? Look no further! Weather the Storm is a first rate recording that is comprised of funky originals, dynamic horn charts, filled with pounds and pounds of hot chops. It's also recorded quite well. This music will jump right out of your speakers, both sonically and musically. Enjoy it!
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: email@example.com
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com