July212009

Record #29: The Dynamites feat. Charles Walker’s ‘Burn It Down’

I hesitate to call The Dynamites neo-soul, primarily because there’s nothing particularly “neo” about their material. They’re the genuine article, a crew of tight players who have been doing this a long time and doing it remarkably. (Walker used to be a part of Little Charles and the Sidewinders, and he has recorded for Chess Records and I’m sure countless others). Burn It Down was sent to us at work recently—well before its Sept. 15 release date—and for those of you who aren’t familiar, The Dynamites are a Nashville-based crew of badass soul/funk players who, though they have received recognition the world over, probably aren’t as lauded as they should be (i.e. they aren’t household names in most places, but they damn well ought to be).

Every player on this record is exceptional. The rhythm section is astonishingly tight, the guitars, horns and organs are tasteful and gorgeous, and Walker is a powerhouse of booming energy. They aren’t reinventing the genre here—they’re just doing it about as well as it can possibly be done nowadays. Walker’s lyrics are sometimes the type of vague cultural proselytizing that funk fans will be accustomed to, sometimes they’re kind of romantic in nature, and sometimes it’s hard to say exactly what the hell it is he’s talking about. But he always sounds phenomenally powerful, and he’s got a band that can keep up with him.

It’s awesome to see the popular modern resurgence of soul that’s taking place with artists like Raphael Saadiq and Sharon Jones, and hopefully in addition to reaching back to the founders of funk and soul, young folks will embrace groups like The Dynamites—bands whose members haven’t quit since funk was born, and thusly are doing it the best. This record is huge and immaculately recorded. Listen to it. I’m not going to post a track since I don’t want to be responsible for a leak, but you should listen to the tunes they have up on their MySpace page.

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