Acid Jazz Records release ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’, the second single from Chris Bangs and Mick Talbot’s forthcoming collaboration album, Back To Business which will be released on 17 June. Acid Jazz have a long history with Chris (who coined the term ‘acid jazz’) and Mick (founding member of the Style Council), who appeared on one of the label’s earliest and rarest singles as ‘King Truman’ back in 1988.
‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ is an instrumental cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1964 Motown classic. This reading of the song has a shuffle groove and features uber rhythms from Brand New Heavies’ guitarist Simon Bartholomew (who also makes an appearance on good times R&B number, ‘Blue Jeans’). As Bangs put it, "we wanted to put a different slant on the tune, small combo vibe with a Wurlitzer piano lead. We were thinking of getting a vocalist to sing the tune but it's been done that way so many times."
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This follows the release last month of their original composition, the sweaty jazz club groove of ‘Sumthin’ Else’, which went down a storm on Eddie Piller’s Totally Wired Radio show, all but selling out that very day. Both songs are representative of the infectious 12-track album collaboration between these two musical titans.
Elsewhere the album features a variety of styles, including ‘Jerk Chicken’s ‘60s dancefloor groove with Memphis guitars, Hammond Organ and Wurlitzer 112 (the sound made famous by Ray Charles on ‘What I’d Say’), the Latino soul crossover stomper ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf’, which takes its cues from the West Coast Beach Beat sound of ‘60s California, and the skipping Detroit flavoured groove, with Jackson 5 style fuzz guitars, swinging Farfisa organ and Wurly Pianos of ‘It’s Alright’. Bangs and Talbot wrote this song during the lockdown and put down the Hammond as a guide melody for the vocals, everybody who heard the demo loved the instrumental, so the lyrics will sit firmly on the back burner till a later date.
The talents of Mick Talbot are exemplified on tracks such as the high energy, fiery Hammond stomper ‘Kookie T’, ‘Leela’s Dance’, a distinctive and alternative slant on the classic 5/4 rhythm made famous by Dave Brubeck on ‘Take Five’. The track features his hypnotic piano riffs accompanied by Roger Beaujolais’ jazzy vibraphones and Julian Burdock’s slinky guitars and comes across as a band in the room but in fact, the sessions were recorded across three continents. On ‘Pick ‘n’ Mick's, a Talbot solo offering for the album, a live groove takes his love of all thing Memphis, which he overdubbed ALL the instrumental parts on; three pianos, three Hammonds and three Wurlitzer pianos plus Rhodes Bass for a unique vibe on this southern delight.
‘Stingway’ is another live delight, this time recorded straight after lockdown at the legendary California Club PJ’s. The newly released audience groove along ecstatically to Talbot’s gospel flavoured Hammond virtuosity, Memphis vibes on the guitar, Bangs getting crazy with the drums and the whole thing serving up an uptempo Baptist groove that’s sure to set the dancers moving. ‘Goody Goody’, a Chess Records / Ramsey Lewis-inspired gospel piano groover takes live elements and fuses them with big beats, brass, crowd claps to create an atmospheric bluesy number.
Bangs’ solo composition for the album, ‘Blues Walks’, is a swinging bop-jazz tune formed by trumpeter Dave Priseman transcribing Bangs’ scat vocals from demo version, vibraphone pleasures from Beaujolais and an excelling guitar solo outro from Burdock.
Back To Business is an exhilarating, contemporary fusion of timeless genres on an album that perfectly distils all these sounds to create the ultimate-sounding Acid Jazz record by two legends of the scene.
1. Sumthn’ Else
2. Surf ‘n’ Turf
3. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
4. Stingray (Live at PJs)
5. Kookie T
6. It’s Alright (Instrumental)
7. Leela’s Dance
8. Blue Jeans
9. Goody Goody
10. Pick ‘n’ Mick’s
11. Jerk Chicken
12. Blues Walk
The Back To Business album is available on vinyl, CD, digital download and streaming platforms.