CONTINUATOR Gamble Brothers Band
A dare: just try sitting still when you listen to Continuator, the Memphis-based Gamble Brothers Band's third album. With all the sex appeal of an R & B group, the raw, primal appeal of a rock band, and the intelligence of a jazz combo, this power quartet culls their southern musical roots for inspiration, but does not stop at mere tribute. R & B, Soul, Jazz, and Roots Rock a la The Band or Little Feat are all strong presences in this irresistible combo's sound, but through some organic musical alchemy, what emerges is pure, original, creative gold.
Continuator is thick with funky grooves, slinky keyboards and tasty horn lines...and no guitar: don't miss it, don't need it. Brothers Al and Chad Gamble (keyboards and drums, respectively), along with sax player Art Edmaiston and bassist Blake Rhea, have honed a mature and unmistakable sound in just a few years. While the band may be young, their creds are long, all of them having played extensively with an impressive list of R & B's finest.
Al Gamble's soulful, everyman voice raises the ghost of Lowell George, while at times the harmonies hint at Steely Dan. It's a great mix that reflects the overall genre-bending territory GBB is so comfortable with.
Many bands that demonstrate this level of instrumental and vocal firepower lean heavily on it to make up for weak song writing. Not so, GBB. They write solid songs some of which speak from an oddly cheerful yet resigned point of view about the every day condition of the "simple man." This sort of "what the hell" attitude comes across in songs like "Hold Out 'Til Monday":
out 'til Monday, let the weekend get by us
Other songs, like "E. Parkway Rundown," have truly tender moments that are nicely suited to Gamble's vocal palette and show off the band's emotional range.
With GBB's knack for both the catchy hook and the intelligent lyric, not to mention their sheer musical power, Continuator is that rarest of beasts: the album you want to jump around to and listen closely to.
So, go ahead, listen up and try not dancing. Double dog dare ya. Judith Edelman
(to be released February 21, 2006)