Be Yourself by The New Mastersounds - One Note Records [ONRCD001] FLAC download included with physical items

Be Yourself

A 14 track funk album (51m 18s) — released November 3rd 2003 on One Note Records

'Keb Darge Presents the New Mastersounds', the debut album from NMS, featured tracks that have been playlisted by Gilles Peterson, remixed by Kenny Dope and sampled by Shadow, since its first release in Oct 2001 on BBE. The album has sold over 7000 copies worldwide. 'Better Off Dead', from the new album, was released on 7' single in March 2003 and described thus: 'retro sitar break heaven for those on a mission to mix and match the old with the new'Obligatory Hammond parts, tough breaks and beats, dusty analogue-sounding production, it's all in there. Beauty' DJ Magazine The breadth and scope of music within this new album will take some by surprise. Gone is the full-throttle, all-guns-blazing, heavy attack of previous recordings, replaced by a more mature and soulful sound. And yet there are some FAT & GREASY grooves here which will delight the breaks, beats and funk fans. It's the two vocal tracks on the album that show just how far the NMS have developed in the last few years: - 'Your love is mine' is a classic soul ballad (think Al Green) delivered by young singer Corinne Bailey-Rae (recently signed up by Floetry's management, and soon to be whisked off to Philly for some Touch Of Jazz magic!) - Special guest vocalist LSK, took time out from promoting his massively acclaimed Sony album 'Outlaw' to drop the blue-eyed soul hip-hop of 'Idle Time'. Drenched with the blues, this original has all the flavour of a Mose Allison classic, but updated to the 21st century! Yes, The New Mastersounds are back in style!'

It?s sometimes hard to break ground when you?ve had a yardstick set upon you, and the Master Sounds? ripping One Note Brown single caused such a stir on release that it?s seems unfair to keep referring back to it as a benchmark now. Their stint at BBE with Keb Darge as executive producer yielded some exceedingly hard Funk, but back on their own ground, we couldn?t know what to expect after a fallow period. In fact on hearing the opening track This Ain?t Work, I feared a whole LP of Meters pastiche (which the Master Sounds do better than anyone, granted), but after this the set immediately gave way to reflect whole new facets of the band on wax. Down to the bare-bones four-piece (and with nobody to please but themselves), the band exude a fresh, understated confidence and maturity. The lion?s share of the LP constitutes the snappy Funk that made their name, but they?re most impressive when dropping the Hammond for Fender Rhodes and slipping back in a cool jazzy vein. Bar?a and Coming Down are quite excellent and should the vocal collaborations with Corrine Bailey Rae and LSK slip out as singles, they can expect hits of some sort. Not launched until November I don?t think, hopefully there will be some sort of taster in the interim. - Grand Slam

"time has strengthened their resolve to pursue an independent path not unlike the original purveyors of funk, whether from San Franciso or Detroit, who released their waves on small indie labels..sure enough the Leeds foursome drop those uptempo gritty three minute funk cuts like the opener?confident enough to diversify into the lazy, chilled groove..What can I say? Independece had to be sought for -may the funk be with you. - SNC

? a subtler spectrum of textures, drawing upon a more relaxed jazz and soul approach to augment their usual blistering up-tempo attack?Much more creativity? reminding everyone here that whacking out serious funk isn't the only thing he does tastefully well?the group display a rootsy but progressive approach that should ensure that they and their audience stay challenged, refreshed & interested?. - Greg Boraman, BBCi

"AS funky as it is rare and as honed as it is raw, 'Be Your Self' could be filed under Brand New Heavies..and early 90s Acid Jazzadelica without even slightly sticking out like sore thumb The thing is , NMS do it for the love it?***** - Swax Mclver DJ Magazine

The New Mastersounds return with another funk album of classic proportion. Be Yourself sounds like it could have been recorded live, with its no-messing; just let the music speak for itself production (as it would?ve been in the ?70s). The songs have a refreshing quality that don?t tend to focus on one theme throughout and cover a multitude of tempo?s and styles including jazz, funk and soul. Whether it be the crisp, rolling drums or the intricate guitar work and not forgetting the Booker-T style Hammond organ, it?s extremely difficult to pin-point a standout instrument or musician. With that in mind one has to conclude that it?s ALL GOOD. And with the father of funk, Keb Darge very much behind NMS it won?t be long before they?re seen up there with the likes of Grant Green and the Meters. 7 / 10. - Richard Bamford Undercover

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