St. Paul & The Broken Bones ‘Half The City’ (Single Lock Records) 5/5

St-paul-the-broken-bonesIn 2011/12 I was trawling through YouTube, like you do, looking for new music when I stumbled across a monumental new voice to me in Paul Janeway – backed by The Broken Bones. The sound created was that of my beloved Southern Soul, steeped in everything that was so wonderful that surfaced out of Memphis, Muscle Shoals etc., harking back to the Halcyon days of Fame; Goldwax; Stax; Atlantic, and a myriad of small labels all struggling to get a piece of the pie. Over the years more videos have been uploaded, but in October; bang! the album landed with a sonic BOOM in my house – a genuine OMG moment when it first shattered the silence, surfacing on vinyl and CD. Well you gotta have vinyl right?
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, let’s start with the horn section. Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone and Tuba, what a sound that little lot makes! Truly dominant on every track and a sheer joy. Organ, Piano and Wurlitzer stamp their mark on the sound too, thumping base and heavy percussion throughout, some outstanding lead guitar work adds another dimension to a wonderful sound. Now then, if this wasn’t good enough we have Paul Janeway, “how can a white man sound so black and so bloody wonderful” it’s impossible right? The last white man I heard sing with such fervour was Eddie Hinton who born and bred in the south and that was over fourty years ago. Well Paul Janeman has just set me back big time, because he is white and he can sing with passion, guts, grits, bucket loads of emotion, he has such an understanding with the band it’s almost too good to believe. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to hear an album of such soulful stature again, Timmion, Truth & Soul, GED etc. are doing a wonderful job and I really did think that the James Hunter Six had done it for me this year. The YouTube video of “Don’t Mean A Thing” is a thing of beauty and is viewed repeatedly here at home – well it’s here on the album, track two, just about the closest to perfection my music can get, twelve potential tunes of the year, which collectively is my album of 2014! Bloody hell, I thought Sonny Knight & The Lakers was good. Paul Janeway, Jesse Phillips, Browan Lollar, Andrew Lee, Allan Branstetter, Ben Griner and Al Gamble take a bow gents, you’ve created an album and a sound that will be talked about in Southern Soul circles for years to come. Furthermore this album was produced by Ben Tanner in Muscle Shoals Alabama and further mixing at the Fame studios, just so right.

Brian Goucher