The Sugarman 3
" What the World Needs Now "
Daptone Records

"It’s been a ten-year wait for a new CD from The Sugarman 3, but Neal Sugarman has been kind of busy with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Bob Putignano says it was worth the wait. Find out why!"  Chip Eagle for Blues Revue magazine & Blueswax

BluesWax Rating: 7

American Soul Firing On All Their Soulful and Well-Lubed Cylinder

The Sugarman 3 make their triumphant return to recording after a ten-year absence, yet the core group remains the same with Neal Sugarman’s sax, Adam Scone’s B3, and drummer Rudy Albin. Sugarman is a busy guy, touring and recording with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and from time to time with the Budos Band, and it’s great to have this unit back in action. Outside of the trio and rounding out this soulful unit there’s Joe Crispiano’s guitar, Bosco Mann’s bass, trumpeter Dave Guy, and percussionist Fernando Velez, who are all members as the Dap-Kings. All in all, eleven tracks are included and six are originals from various members of the band, all songs are instrumentals with occasional background vocals.

The haunting “Rudy’s Intervention” opens the disc in soul-jazz fashion setting the tone for what’s to come. A knock at the door introduces “Your Friendly Neighborhood Sugarman,” complete with a lady who answers “Who Is It?” This tune could have come right out of the Junior Walker songbook, though it was co-authored by Neal Sugarman who sounds very much like Walker’s funky sax; it’s a cool tune. “Got to Get Back To My Baby” is covered and would make nice for a spring/summer car ride with the top down. Booker T would applaud Adam Scone’s Stax-like B3 on the J.J. Jackson classic “It’s Alright,” in fact the entire groove of this tune sounds like it was recorded in Memphis. The entire band wrote “Witches Boogaloo” where it sounds like there’s a party going on in the studio, and finds Sugarman digging down deep on sax, Scone soars on organ, and the horns fill in perfectly. The Burt Bacharach-authored title track adds background vocalists (The Dapettes) Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan, the entire band percolates most notably Rudy Albin’s drums. Another chestnut, “Dirty Water,” is delectably covered where the band is dead-on in the pocket, firing on all their soulful and well-lubed cylinders. Written by the entire band, “Mellow Meeting” finds us near back to McLemore Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. Yes, with that Stax sound on this very ear-clutching tune. This hip dance party concludes with a cover of “Love Went Away,” a late-night hangout track that couldn’t put you to sleep and will definitely have your feet tapping.

Here’s to welcoming back the Sugarman 3! Let’s hope they don’t take another ten years to follow-up on What the World Needs Now. The Sugarman 3 understand (and interpret) the roots of American soul, obviously respecting where it all came from, right on!

Bob Putignano: