Way back when I had this before it’s time clothing/skate/ store that eventually started to sell records. Because of the name, Soul Sauce, I got all kinds of crazy visitors. I once looked up to find a woman standing in front of me asking where Mary J. Blige’s Soul Food order was. I used to get all kinds packages sent to the store too. We would get records from Desco, and I once got this weird, heavy, Funk/Rock type compilation on CD that turned out to be Black Chains and Exhaust. I went nuts trying to get a track list it was so good. Back then, we also got a copy (of the first Sugarman 3 record). Unfortunately, somebody made off with it while in the store. That’s the problem with having all your records where people could see them, they can also take them. But I digress, sixteen years after Neil Sugarman provided the world with the niche they didn’t know they needed, Modern Funk and Soul, and consequently then founded a label the world didn’t know they needed in Daptone as well, they are back.
From the beginning, this instrumental Soul band has had a unique sound. Not afraid to pay homage to cats like Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff or Jimmy Smith in their own way, believe me, the sound is there. After the initial success of Sugar’s Boogaloo, Soul Donkey and Pure Cane Sugar, all released in the late 90’s and early 2000’s respectfully, saxophone player Neil Sugarman became the ultimate sideman and a member of the Dap-Kings. Playing behind everyone from Amy Winehouse to Nas to Al Green to Sharon Jones (and the Dap-Kings), it’s only a natural progression that he would want to release more Sugarman 3 stuff. The title itself, Bacharach’s What The World Needs Now is perfect. This record is what the world and the music industry needs now. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are few bands who can transport music lovers back to that period of time: ’67-’74, replicating the sound, the recording techniques, and producing some of the most soulful modern music today. Sugarman 3 is one of them. The LP starts out with “Rudy’s Intervention” (a track offered for free over at Daptone so go get it), a track that easily could have Sharon Jones wailing about a love gone wrong. Moving through these sides, the solid drumming of Rudy Albin (ex-McDuff drummer) gets your attention real quick while Sugarman’s Bluesy, Soul filled sax work shines. Adam Scone’s organ was and is a force to be reckoned with. Check out the mean fills on the title track “What The World Needs Now” as the Dapettes croon their way away from the Lite FM original to a more mature, soulful, sound. I believe Burt would approve. “Witches Boogaloo” makes me feel like I’m drinking a whiskey and coke at the Cliche Lounge in Newark, NJ while Earl Creque and Idris Muhhamed are trading organ and drums back and forth while Grant Green was having a smoke break. I can only imagine that’s what it really felt like the night they recorded Alive!. The Sugarman 3 have that kind of effect on you, their sound is from today, but can transport you to so many places. “Brother T. is some Soul Jazz walking the dog lazy Sunday afternoon stuff, the sound Sugarman perfected on his Sunday stints at the Parkside Lounge in NYC. “Dirty Water”, which was also released on 45, is a Bluesy cut, while “Got To Get Back to My Baby” was an unreleased Budos Band track written by Tankel, Foder and Brenneck (of the Budos) and given the Sugarman 3 treatment. If you are looking for the hard hitting Funk of the early Sugar’s Blues, you may be disappointed. If you are receptive to the maturing of a band, particularly one who is as versatile as the S3, then you will understand where, why, and how they made this record. It has it’s funky moments, don’t get me wrong (the drum break on “Mellow Meeting” is killer), but it’s funky in another way, and that’s ok. What the world needs right now is good music, and at the moment, who’s sweeter than the Sugarman 3?
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A Closer Look at the Sugarman 3