Friday, September 07, 2007

"...and I'll take any legal tender with a white man in the center"

says Lyrics Born from the first track, What You Need, of Galactic's new release, From the Corner to the Block. Shades of Tom Wait's "Step Right Up" ! A double jolt for any Galactic fan. Rapping and humor. This CD will take a while for your core Galactic fan to latch onto. And, I believe, that fan will latch on. Stanton Moore stroking through on drums, Ben Ellman blowing his heart out on harmonica and horns, Robert Mercurio laying the lowdown (the way...low...down) on bass, Jeff Raines adding squiggles, hoops, and funk on guitar, and Mr. Rich Vogel riffing off of Mr. Raines and Mr. Stanton; yes, it's the same Galactic. This would be their party album phase, I guess. Whatever phase they're in, they are a group worth staying in touch with. Some have compared this album with that of Philly's own The Roots. I think that comparison works to the extent that both groups rely on live musicians and no drum machines to accompany the singers/rappers. However, the comparison ends at that point, IMHO. The Roots have their own thing going, their own influences, adaptations, and inclusions. Galactic, being from Louisiana, has absorbed the particularities of New Orleans into their music and that flavor carries through this album, regardless of the addition of hip-hop artists to 10 of the 14 tracks. Aside from Mr. Lyrics Born's hilariously engaging opening track, Jurrasic 5's deep-voice-in-the-bowels-of-the-'hoodChali 2na's "Think Back", the title track, From the Corner to the Block, with Juvenile & Soul Rebels Brass Band, "Tuff Love" with Trombone Shorty, and...and, well, let me make it easier. I only skip through 2 of the 14 tracks of this album; "Hustle Up" with Boots Riley and "Squarebiz" with Ladybug Mecca & Nino Moschella. Once was enough for those two tracks, so I gave them 6 listens to be fair and equitable. Two purely instrumental Galactic carrying on's would have been more appreciated than these somewhat annoying songs. But, even with that, I'd say From the Corner to the Block is one of the top 10 releases for 2007. Play it Loud; Play it Proud.

Here's a YouTube of Chali 2na with Galactic doing one of my favorites from the release, Think Back.


Kewl beans - I downloaded my copy today!
Hey WP,
Happy listening! Hope you can listen to it where you can crank it. I love it more with each listening; the lyrics, in general, connect well and the music is, well, is Galacticocious! These guys are always evolving.
This is another thank you for the post. eMusic lists these guys' genre as Hip Hop, which isn't too far off the mark, but far enough to have dissuaded me from bothering to listen, had eMusic been my only exposure to Galactic. There is a great deal more instrumentation than I generally associate with hip-hop -- and so far as I'm concerned, more musicality, too. I'm liking it a lot.
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