Rating: The latest release from Nashville, Tennessee-based funk/ soul label GED Soul comes from house band DeRobert & The Half Truths in the shape of the twelve track album I’m Tryin’. The thing is, it nearly didn’t. Get released that is. Times are hard these days for indy soul labels and also bands too. While, on the plus side, hardship does tend to encourage a certain feel to the music (we’ll call it ‘soul’), on the other hand – funding production of a wax pressing is a bit tricky. So much so in this case that the GED crew resorted to funding the whole thing via a Kickstarter campaign. Which, happily was a success. Applause please! Can I get a soul clap?
Actually I can get a soul clap since the LP opens with one – over which DeRobert proceeds to elucidate the gospel roots of soul. The subsequent tracks demonstrate the band’s distinctive take on traditional funky soul which is to combine stank late sixties and early seventies grooves with DeRobert’s more contemporary soul/ rnb vocal style. This latter is something which has more in common with John Legend (who is name-checked in Ooo Wee) and his ilk than it does with the raw soul sound of JB or Charles Wright though of course it’s actually a style that has its roots in Stevie Wonder’s seventies material – for which check Get On It and Please Shine On Me in particular. It’s a recipe that is nowhere better exemplified than in the trio of tracks that constitute the penultimate quarter of the LP. This includes former free single Going Places (video below) – the chilled cousin to Cee-Lo’s similarly themed Fuck You, the lovelorn I Don’t Get Mad No No, and Do It Alone.
I’m Tryin‘ then – the sound of shoestring soul succeeding. Going Places is still available for free download (see soundcloud player below) and you can also cop another pair of unreleased tracks (excellent uptempo dancefloor funk bomb also confusingly entitled I’m Tryin’ and the more reflective Yes I Want It) – see bandcamp player, also below.
(Out 14 January on G.E.D. Soul Records)