Gabriel Roth on DOJO CUTSPublished on Venerdì, 06 Marzo 2009
Legendary Dap-kings / Daptone records producers Gabriel Roth wrote the liner notes for DOJO CUTS' debut album, out now on Record Kicks and available on CD/LP/Digital download:
"What is soul music? Soul is a feeling you get in your gut when the message is coming to you straight. When the band is sweating and the singer is teetering at the edge of rapture. When the horns are peeling, the bass is pounding, the guitar is chanking, and the drummer is playing hard but true. When each part sits in just the right place and the whole thing comes together like a puzzle.
Roxie Ray and the Dojo Cuts play soul music. Their arrangements unfold with discipline and taste, never overplayed or falling into the common clichés of many "funk" bands. Over and into the wholes – the tiny but mighty empty spaces between the notes – Roxie Ray pours her heart out for her listeners. The performances show a perfect balance of self-control and spontaneity that are captured artfully by the bold rawness of the recording process. The result is an album that will surely leave the international funk and soul scene abuzz.
The album leads in heavy with an uptempo romp entitled, "You Make Lovin' Real Easy" in which a blaring horn intro breaks down to undulating drums and bass to leave plenty of space for Roxie Ray's sultry verses, only to explode back into the chorus again. It's these explosive dynamics that will take the Cuts to the top of the showband circuit. Next comes a version of Stevie's classic stomper "Uptight", which has been turned out completely by this band. "Say What You Mean", is an uppity little tune reminiscent of the early Poets of Rhythm 45's. "Love Me Right", my personal favourite, is a tenderly cut ballad with an arrangement so strong and disciplined it invokes the great songs of Stax. It's great to hear a funk/soul ensemble that isn't afraid to write a song and take their time. Of special note is the gorgeously tremeloed guitar solo coming out of the bridge. A catchy guitar/tambourine intro ushers in "Mama Told Me" one of the catchiest tunes on this record, followed by a perfectly arcing horn turnaround that sounds like it was lifted straight out of Muscle Shoals. "The 1-2-3's" leads in with another guitar hook, but after coming through a sinister dirty vamp, shifts gears into a refreshingly major chorus refrain that will stick with you long after the needle has hit the return groove. The band is able to stay mellow and in the groove as they climb back uptempo for "I Know You Didn't Mean It", which has a feel and a syncopation that will surely become an indispensable part of every DJ's arsenal. "The Bing" starts out as another minimalist Meters-type groove, outlined by a stark guitar lick and a quirky horn punctuation, but again brings a surprising chord change in the chorus that brings another layer of drama to the composition which opens up nicely in the lead-out vamp. The album closes with an infectious hook in "Something's Going On".
With this debut album, Roxie Ray and the Dojo Cuts have secured their place among the heavy hitters of today's funk and soul bands. I look forward with anticipation to the opportunity to experience their live show and hear them continue to develop their strong sound for years to come.
Keep putting Soul up".
- Gabriel Roth AKA Bosco Mann (Daptone Records / The Dap-Kings)
RK45026 DOJO CUTS - "The 1-2-3s" / "See and Don't See" on 45/Digital Download
RKX026 DOJO CUTS - "Dojo Cuts featuring Roxie Ray" on CD/LP/Digital Download