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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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They say if you wait long enough for a bus then two will come along. This maxim now appears to apply to American Soul Bands. The emergence last year of the Alabama Shakes and their mighty lead singer vocalist Brittany Howard, a veritable force of nature, brought real cheer to those who like their music soulfully stirred and infused with Muscle Shoals devout passion. The owners of Single Lock Records sit in this tradition including John Paul White of the now defunct Civil Wars and Ben Tanner of said Alabama Shakes. In signing St Paul & The Broken Bones it must have felt that Christmas came early. The band hail from Alabama and its six members come fully formed and schooled in the best traditions of the music of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, O V Wright and Al Green. The band however are not mere revivalists. Like the Shakes they are regenerators breathing new life into a timeless tradition that should regularly bang down the doors and demand substantial quality time on the stereo. The lead singer of the band is another surprise package. Indeed Paul Janeway might do for soul what Paul Potts did for opera. He is an unlikely frontman, looking like a mix of Huey Long and Bill Gates yet singing like his black soul heroes with a voice which he should insure for millions. He is a star in the making and once you have heard that voice you are going to return time after time. "Half the City" is the bands debut and in terms of consistency it tops "Boy and Girls" by the Alabama Shakes in terms of sheer joy de vivre and deep down desire.

Play this album to any musical acquaintance and the first astonished words uttered will be "Who the f*** are they"? Check out Janeway's vocal on "Like a Mighty River" with its superb horn backdrop and powerhouse chords and try not to be impressed. This is a vocalist who was trained in the gospel tradition at his local Pentecostalist Church and doesn't it show. Similarly their live standard "Call Me" floats along with an effortless soul groove that could only be the product of a veteran band who have played thousands of club to be this tight and together. Undoubtedly this will be the case as St Paul and the Broken Bones storm every venue they currently play but we would do well not to forget that some of these musicians are straight out of college.

The high voltage soul on "Half the City" is relentless. Echoes of Otis Redding abound on the slow emotional ballad "Broken Bones & Pocket Change" an absolute showstopper of a song. It is matched by the wonderful closer "Its Midnight" all dark and burning with passionate intensity. For a bit of lighter relief turn to the funky title track and the almost Dexys sounding "Dixie Rothko" with a huge Janeaway vocal. Overall this is an album which wears its heart on its sleeve, it want to entertain, to pull at your emotions and to make you punch the air. It is a soul debut to die for and makers of polyvinyl chloride in the US have already stocked up because "Half the City" is making a big call on their supplies. Will the UK follow? Frankly we would be daft not to.
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on 30 April 2015
St Paul has a voice which resembles a mixture of Sam Moore, Otis Redding, and Bill Withers. Not bad at all. The Broken Bones draw their influences from a massive, tasty, spectrum of soul/RnB influences. the result is a mighty fine album that sounds like it could have been part of the original Atlantic Records 'Stax' catalogue . The album only lasts just over 39 minutes but is worth the dosh to anyone who loves that retro soul sound like me. I am so happy that I stumbled across this album. A brilliant treat for my lug 'oles. Why such a yucky, detracting, bit of album art though ?

Eamonn
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on 16 September 2014
Saw them at the end of the road festival.Absolutely brilliant,and the album reflects the passion and fun in this band.Could say they're a bit old school,but done in genius style and utterly convincing.Hope they do some more.
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on 22 June 2014
Purchased this album on vinyl and what a great album it is. Not the usual sort of thing I would listen to so was very surprised that I liked it so much when I first heard it on Spotify so had to buy it. Well worth listening to.
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on 13 September 2014
I bought the CD before going to see the band "live" at Gorilla in Manchester. It whetted my appetite for what turned out to be a brilliant gig.
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on 22 June 2016
Stumbled across this band thanks to a google play playlist. Was hooked. Love love love this band, really soulful and bluesy. Nice to hear real instruments. Looking forward to new album in September.
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on 13 October 2014
Great CD from a Band I first heard on The BBC Radio 2 Bob Harris Saturday Night Show.
Great Band and what a Voice!!! Takes me back to the bands from the 60's. Not a bad review from an OAP!!
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on 26 June 2015
Really enjoying this album. Reminiscent of Otis Redding in his glory days, but original songs with a very muscular feel and terrific vocals. One to play loud.
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on 7 July 2016
Just discovered this band so as latest CD not due out until Sept thought I'd get this one to keep me going until then. Brilliant. I love them.
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on 27 May 2014
A fantastic album from start to finish, highly recommend you give it a try.
Heard them live on radio 2 and the album does not disappoint.
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