Album: Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere, Nudge It Up a Notch (Stax)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Though more associated respectively with the soul-music scenes of Memphis and New York, both MGs guitarist Steve Cropper and Young Rascals singer Felix Cavaliere now reside in Nashville, a proximity that led them to perform together and to this recording.

But there's nothing too compelling here; the tracks have the whiff of old stagers keeping their hands in. Only a few are strong enough to stand in their own right, and none comes close to either man's career highs.

Listen to a clip of One of Those Days

"One of These Days" is a nice funk groove with gospelly backing vocals and a precise, lean Telecaster break, while the slower "If It Wasn't For Loving You" relies on a throaty vocal tic – though the late addition of weirdly misplaced doowop vocals hints at a lack of conviction that cripples the entire project. Most tracks are closer to Cavaliere's former work rather than Cropper's, and the latter seems more comfortable on guitar instrumentals like "Full Moon Tonight" and "Cuttin' It Close", which recall the likes of Little Milton or Cornell Dupree in the Seventies: pleasant enough, but sounding like a jobbing guitarist struggling to fill the spotlight, not helped by Cavaliere's use of nasty Eighties keyboard sounds.

Pick of the album: 'One of These Days', 'If It Wasn't For Loving You', 'Full Moon Tonight'

Click here to purchase this album