To those who may claim that the days of great soul labels like Stax and Motown are over, look no further than Daptone, a small, Brooklyn-based outfit that's produced some of the most compelling music of the 21st Century. The label's most recent is the second release from the 11-man Budos Band, a record that borrows equally from Curtis Mayfield, Ethiopian funk, James Brown and Fela Kuti, mixing funk and Afrobeat and blaxpoitation together into something wholly original.
Appropriately titled The Budos Band II, it swings and struts its way through its 10 tracks with a confidence that comes more from a deep understanding of groove rather than the sort of hubris associated with instrumental ability. Not that the musicians don't have plenty to brag about here there are enough smoky saxophone solos, horn bursts, and riffing guitars to satisfy almost anyone. But the Budos Band is more concerned about rhythm and soul and making the record really move than showing off individual expertise. From the Temptations-inspired "His Girl" to the smooth organ groove in "Adenji" to the boom-bap beat of "Mas o Menos," The Budos Band II helps to place the group firmly in the instrumental world with rightful authority, conviction, and most importantly, a whole lot of soul.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].