Great news! Funk is alive and well and seriously kicking hard! Just listen to even a little of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station’s latest CD “Raise Up” and you will be a believer! You will agree that the long wait since this bands last CD is finally over.
Let me remind you of our interview with Larry Graham in our November 2010 issue of Bass Musician Magazine… Rick Suchow did an amazing job and even featured additional Comments by Marcus Miller
Now, here is a bit from Larry about this project:
From the initial wake up call played by the drumline (Larry on snare) to the rest of this upbeat CD, you will feel the compulsion to get up and move your feet!
Larry’s slapping, popping bass is at the helm of this monster band! This is one super-tight, well-oiled Funk machine; Screaming horns, punchy baritone sax, driving percussion, and full vocal harmonies set the bar really high on this one. A little help from Prince and Raphael Sadiq on a couple of tracks doesn’t hurt, but the real deal here is Larry and the band. The set list is mostly Larry’s compositions with a few unique approaches to a few recognizable cover tunes.
Lets have a closer look at a few of tracks.
Kicking it into high gear for the get-go, “GCS Drumline” gets your attention with drums, cymbals and whistle. The first track transitions seamlessly into a flow of constant Funk that carries you along for three tracks before you even notice where you are.
As the last beat of the drum from “Drumline” strikes, “Throw-N-Down the Funk” establishes a major Funk presence. Larry’s Bass, Tom-Toms and drums, B-3 Hammond, guitar, vocals and meaty brass (courtesy of the Millfield Horns) really shakes up the room. One unique detail, Larry sings while he plays (it looks like he has a mike stand connected to his bass). Larry blends slap and pop with some walking lines throughout the piece that keeps it all trucking along.
There is a single pop of the Snare and “It’s Alright” is immediately in progress. The feel is different but it is still nice and funky! When Larry asks if you feel like dancing, you would think you are at a “Congregation of Funk” service! If you aren’t moving by this track, you may need to have yourself checked out. Bright, solid horns punching back and forth with the bass make this tune drive ahead like a bulldozer!
“Shoulda Coulda Woulda” slows down the tempo with this soulful, bluesy, remorseful track. This is a great example of Larry’s deep vocals full of feeling and impact; nice touch of variety here.
“Welcome to Our World” takes us into an “Acapella” version of Larry’s music. Harmonious voices, cowbell and tambourine are all there is and it is great! Especially nice bass vocals caught my attention.
“It Ain’t No Fun To Me” picks the tempo back up into the realm of juicy funk again. The superior arranging of this piece makes great use of the full power of the band.
Anytime you take on a Stevie Wonder song you are entering into deep waters but Larry and the Band do a solid job with “Higher Ground.” (The video doesn’t do it justice and ends before the song is over)
OK, so now you know that Larry Graham and Graham Central Station’s “Raise Up” is a must have for anyone that digs Funk and bass. Check this one out for yourself!
Visit Larry’s site at larrygraham.com