Rating: The ‘group’ part of The Gene Dudley Group is something of a misnomer it seems, because it says here that, ‘the debut album, “Saturday Shifting”…features…[Gene Dudley]…himself on trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass, guitar and piano.” Of course, now I’ve just got an image of some bloke in a waistcoat, bowler hat and striped trousers with cymbals between his knees, a bass drum strapped to his chest and a saxophone on a frame hanging round his neck. So far, so ‘central Bath on a Saturday afternoon’ and not at all the image you’d associate with the kind of rich funk and soul instrumentals present on Saturday Shifting.
Indeed, the album is far more likely to suggest retro Carribbean vistas, Pacific yacht parties in the seventies, or even a seedy Soho of four or more decades ago. Big horns, crisp rhythms and – something routinely forgotten amid all the retro funk ‘check us, aren’t we technical?’ bullshit – decent tunes – occur throughout. Were my guidance requested though, I would certainly usher you in the direction of the dubbed-out funky retro reggae of Learn To Jackpot/ Teach The Jackpot, the swinging big band funk of The Fawcett Negotiation or the big bouncing electronically tweaked closer, Waxing Unwaxed Lemons. And it has to be said – if I saw Gene Dudley manage all that on a Saturday afternoon, anywhere, all on his own – I’d be mightily impressed.
(Out 15 July on Wah Wah 45s)