Menahan Street Band: Montego Sunset + Going The Distance
From Make The Road By Walking (Dunham/Daptone, 2008)
While instrumental soul isn’t typically my favorite sub-genre of soul, MSB’s 35-minute album Make The Road By Walking is a consistent effort, with Daptone continuing to pump out solid full lengths to extend their reign on the retrosoul scene.
Jay-Z and his musical team found the sounds of MSB to be soulful enough to sample for the hit â€œRoc Boys.â€ On the album the original is presented with a slower tempo. Following is â€œTired Of Fightingâ€ where the horns take a back seat. If crooning is your thing, this song can be heard with vocals on the 45 with Charles Bradley in a renamed form called â€œThe Telephone Song.â€ I really dig the congas on this track… they’re not overt but add a nice complement to the thump of the rest of the percussion.
â€œHome Again,â€ reminds me of Young Holt Unlimited’s breezy groove. With its intro guitar lick, I can hear The Avalanches using it for a future mix. Throughout the album, MSB sprinkles in different rhythms: on â€œBirds,â€ with its pulsating bass, where they switch to 6/8. The reggae rhythms of â€œMontego Sunsetâ€ making me think back to a beach party I attended in Jamaica a couple years ago. Drinks were abound during this great feast and the band just partied on late into the night. I didn’t even care that my flight left early the next morning; I was too busy enjoying the music and the mood it put me in.
My personal favorite on the album is their spin on the Bill Conti classic â€œGoing The Distanceâ€ from Rocky. Call it nostalgia if you will, but it takes me back to being 12 and catching the movie on cable on a Saturday afternoon. While it foregoes the dramatic strings, the layered horns give it a regal tone showcasing what they do best in triumph.
Here is O-Dub’s take on the Menahan album.