What It Is 2017-2018 Radio Airplay, Chart Info & Reviews:
NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL TERRESTRIAL RADIO AIRPLAY:
WEVL 89.9 FM – Memphis, TN; “Soul Stew”.
WEGR 102.7 FM – Memphis, TN; “Memphis Made”.
WUMR 91.7 FM – Memphis, TN; “Top 10 Jazz Countdown (#3; 12/5/17)”.
WYPL 89.3 FM – Memphis, TN.
WVIS 100.3 FM – Memphis, TN; “Visible Radio”.
WDLZ 98.3 FM – Murfreesboro, NC.
WTRG 97.9 FM – Gaston, NC.
WCOO 105.5 FM – Charleston, SC; “Good Mornin’, Blues”.
WRFG 89.3 – Atlanta, GA; “Good Morning Blues II”
WUCF 89.9 FM – Orlando, FL; “Smokestack Lightnin’”.
WWOZ 90.7 FM – New Orleans, LA; “Sittin’ At The Crossroad”.
WNRN 91.9 FM – Charlottesville, VA; “Fresh Roots : New Blues”.
WTJU 91.1 FM – Charlottesville, VA.
WWDW 107.7 FM – Alberta, VA.
WVLS 89.7 FM – Monterey, VA.
WUEV 91.5 FM – Evansville, IN.
WFYI 90.1 FM – Indianapolis, IN. “Blues House Party”.
WVKC-HD2 90.7 FM – Galesburg, IL; “Kudzu Blues”.
KKFI 90.1 FM – Kansas City, MO; “Living Blues”.
KIOS 91.5 FM – Omaha, NE.
WXPR 91.7 FM – Rheinlander, WI; “Blues Friday”.
WVBR 93.5 FM – Ithaca, NY; “Crossroads”.
WBFO 88.7 FM – Buffalo, NY; “Sunday Night Blues”.
WITR 89.7 FM – Rochester, NY; “Bad Dog Blues”.
WGMC 90.1 FM – Rochester, NY; “Blues & Jazz Spectrum”.
WVLT 92.1 FM – Vineland, NJ; “Down Jersey Radio Program”.
WXCI 91.7 FM – Danbury, CT; “Shout! Brother! Shout!”
WRFR 93.3 FM – Rockland, ME; “The Rockpile Blues Hour”.
WKKL 90.7 FM – Cape Cod, MA; “Surrender to the Air Waves”.
WRDV 89.3 FM – Delaware Valley, PA; “Rhythm Breakdown”.
KRUE 106.3 FM – Owatonna, MN; “Hammered by the Blues / Blue Monday”
KTDE 100.5 FM – Mendocino, CA; “Friday Night Fish Fry”.
KFOK 95.1 FM – Georgetown, CA; “Highway 49 Blues & Tunes”.
KBOO 90.7 FM – Portland, OR.
KPOV 88.9 FM – Bend, OR; “Dr. Bob Blues Show”.
KYRS 88.1/92.3 FM – Spokane, WA; “Mojo Boogie Blues”.
KPTZ 91.9 FM – Port Townsend, WA; “FreeSpin”.
KOAS 89.3 – Olympia, WA.
KSER 90.7 – Everett, WA; “Clancy’s Bar & Grill”.
KBOB 106.9 FM – Walla Walla, WA; “Blues Therapy Radio”
KTUH 90.1 FM – Honolulu, HI; “Somethin’ Blue”.
CFRO 100.5 FM – Vancouver, BC, Canada; “Blues In The Dark”.
KGLP 91.7 FM – Gallup, NM; “Green Chile Revival & Medicine Show”.
KBAC 98.1 FM – Santa Fe, NM; “Toast-n-Jam”.
CKRL 89.1 FM – Quebec, Canada; “Rue D’Auteuil – Friday Night Blues”.
CKUT 90.3 FM – Montréal, Canada; “L’Hôtel Du Blues”.
CFRO 100.5 FM – Vancouver, BC, Canada; “Blues In The Dark”.
CFBX 92.5 FM – Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada; “Blues, Boogie & Bop”.
103.6 FM – Lincolnshire, England; “Blues Unlimited”.
Radio Cardiff 98.7 FM – Cardiff, Wales; “Soul of The Blues”.
EQUINOXE 100.1 FM – Liége, Belgium; “Crossroads”.
RUN 88.1 Mhz (Namur-Belgium)
Fréquence Plus 106.6 Mhz (Andenne-Belgium)
You FM 106.9 Mhz (Mons-Belgium)
Radio Quartz 93.9 Mhz (Sombreffe-Belgium)
Radio Canut 102.2 FM – Lyon, France; “Blues des Canuts”.
Radio F.A.V. 91.3 FM – Vaivre et Montoille, France; “Shotgun Blues”.
Libellule 107.8 FM – France; “Highway 55”
Ussel 102.0 / Brive 91.4 / Tulle 106.9 / Argentat 89.3 / Aurillac 89.4 / Égletons 106.9 – France; “Dixie Rock”.
Angoulême 96.8 / Cognac 89.9 / Confolens 95.4 / Charente Limousine 104.1 / Chalais 96.9 / Ruffec 95.4 / Clermont-Ferrand 91.6 / Thiers 84.4 / Ambert 101.5 / Issoire 89.1 / Combrailles 103.1 / La Bourboule et le Mont-Dore 91.7 / Radio Zones 93.8 FM (Pays de Gex, Bassin lémanique, Genève, Vaud et Vallée de l’Arve) – France; “All Blues”.
RBA FM – Auvergne, Limousin, France; “Radio Blues Intense”.
Radio Weser.TV – Bremerhaven, Germany; “Bluespower”.
Sunbury Radio 99.3 FM – Melbourne, Australia; “Made In The Shade”.
PBS 106.7 FM – Melbourne, Australia; “Got The Blues”.
3WAY FM 103.7 FM – Australia; “Box of Frogs”.
HOT FM 106.7 FM – Mildura, Victoria, Australia.
SMART FM 99.1 FM – Swan Hill, Australia.
STAR FM – Tasmania, Australia; “Dave’s Blues Mix”.
5GTR FM 100.1 FM – Mount Gambier, South Australia.
CITY PARK RADIO 103.7 FM – Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.
MID 97.1 FM – Oatlands, Tasmania, Australia.
VIC 97.9 FM – Melton, Melbourne, Australia.
TRAX FM 105.1 FM – Port Pirie, South Australia.
RADIO MANSFIELD 99.7 FM – High Country, Australia.
2SSR FM 99.7 FM – Sydney/Sutherland, New South Wales, Australia.
KCR FM 102.5 FM – Kalamunda/Perth, Australia.
ALPINE RADIO 96.5 FM – Mount Beauty, Adelaide, Australia.
RADIO ADELAIDE 101.5 FM – Adelaide, Australia.
GotRadio RMR Airplay Report for week of 12/3/17; “Another Sunday Night”.
106.8 FM – Gisborne, New Zealand; “Spellbound Radio”.
WORLDWIDE ONLINE RADIO AIRPLAY:
www.confesssingtheblues.info (“Confessing the Blues” Radio Network: 50 Stations in 10 Countries).
www.lahoradelblues.com (“La Hora del Blues”; Spain)
www.kconlineradio.com (KCOR – “Main Street Blues”)
www.rock-radio.co.uk/blues (“Blues on the Radio” #141)
www.severnfm.com (Quedgeley, Hardwicke, Kingsway, & Glouchester, UK, and Worldwide!)
www.carolyn-fe.com (“Unsung and on the Side; Ep. 77”)
www.digitalblues.co.uk (“Digital Blues”; UK, France, USA, & Worldwide!)
www.rmusentrymedia.com/category/rmu-radio/ (“Damn Right I Got The Blues”)
www.3ml.nl (“Breeker’s Eve Blues Show”, Edition 117)
www.deepjams.net/ (“Live from the Midnight Circus”)
www.ckrl.gc.ca (“Friday Night Blues”)
www.thex.ca (“Blues, Boogie & Bop”)
www.5gtr.net (“Blues Plus – World Edition”; Mt. Gambier, South Australia)
www.caldoniascrossroad.com (“Bruce’s Mo’ Blues Show”)
www.sweethomemusic.fr/Audio/AllBlues853.mp3 (“All Blues”)
www.ridgeradio.co.uk (“Rock n Blues”)
www.ncbradio.co.uk (“Blues Brunch”)
www.sablues.org (“BLUE$ TIME”)
www.rmu.edu/rmuradio (“Damn Right I Got The Blues”)
http://www.onthehorn.com/home/2018/1/3/strong-brew-beb-306 (“Black Eyed & Blues Podcast”)
www.radio.duivenstraat.net (“Blues N Roots Corner”)
www.lincolncityradio.com (“Blues Unlimited”)
www.radiormb.com/ (“Maxwell St.” France)
www.radiosblues.com (“Collectif des Radios Blues Chart #10 ~ January 2018”)
www.johnceestannard.co.uk/blues-hour/ (“Blues Hour”)
www.rock-radio.co.uk (“Blues Corner”)
http://jazz901.org (“Blues & Jazz Spectrum”)
www.radiorcc.com (“Rock N Blues Today”; Italy)
www.radiosblues.com/Powerblues-Janvier-2018 (“Power Blues”)
www.libellulefm.com (“Highway 55”; France)
December show includes:
LIL’ ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS, LOU REED, BOB SEGER, PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND, FREEWORLD, MUDDY WATERS, INXS, WALTER TROUT W/JOE BONAMASSA, AND STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN & DOUBLE TROUBLE!
WGMC Blues Spectrum Top 10 For January 2018
- Various Artists, Soulsville U.S.A., Stax
- FreeWorld, What It Is, SwirlDisc
- Various Artists, Blues Mix 24: Party Soul Blues, Ecko
- Tinsley Ellis,Winning Hand , Alligator
- Wee WillieWalker & Anthony Paule Soul Orch., After A While, Blue Dot
- Original Blues Brothers Band, The Last Shade Of Blue Before Black, Severn
- Sweet PeaAtkinson,Get What You Deserve , Blue Note
- Various Artists, Southern Soul Smashes 7, CDS
- Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, The Luckiest Man, Stony Plain
- AndreaMarr, Natural , Only Blues Music
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #2 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #14 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #31 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #1 – “Another Sunday Night”; #4 – “The Shape I’m In”; #18 – “Shrimp N’ Grits”; #31 – “Find A Better Way”.
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #10 – “Another Sunday Night”; #18 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #25 – “The Shape I’m In”.
Week of Dec The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Rock Song Chart
30, 2017: #7 – “Another Sunday Night”; #22 – “The Shape I’m In; #27 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #16 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #7 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 20, 2018: #8 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 27, 2018: #11 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Feb 3, 2018: #28 – “Another Sunday Night”; #36 – “Shrimp N’ Grits”; #37 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Feb 10, 2018: #64 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Feb 17, 2018: #11 – “Another Sunday Night”; #46 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #47 – “Shrimp N’ Grits”.
Week of Feb 24, 2018: #24 – “Shrimp N’ Grits”; #44 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Mar 10, 2018: #83 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Mar 17, 2018: #32 – “Another Sunday Night”
The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Rock Album Chart
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #23 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #14 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #6 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #15 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #11 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 20, 2018: #22 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 27, 2018: #16 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 3, 2018: #19 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 10, 2018: #19 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 17, 2018: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 24, 2018: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 3, 2018: #19 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 10, 2018: #30 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 17, 2018: #32 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 24, 2018: #27 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 31, 2018: #46 – “What It Is”
Week of Apr 21, 2018: #46 – “What It Is”
The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Song Chart
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #13 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #4 – “Another Sunday Night”; #7 – “The Shape I’m In”.
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #35 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #26 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #37 – “Another Sunday Night”; #61 – “Deeper By The Minute”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #23 – “Deeper By The Minute”
Week of Jan 20, 2018: #27 – “Deeper By The Minute”
Week of Jan 27, 2018: #31 – “Deeper By The Minute”
Week of Feb 17, 2017: #33 – “Another Sunday Night”
The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Blues Album Chart
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #43 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #20 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #43 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #42 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #47 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #42 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 10, 2017: #67 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 17, 2017: #45 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 24, 2018: #49 – “What It Is”
The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Tennessee Song Chart
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #8 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #30 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #49 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #7 – “Another Sunday Night; #8 – “The Shape I’m In”; #33 – Shrimp
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #21 – “Another Sunday Night; #30 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #43 – “The Shape I’m In”.
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #18 – “Another Sunday Night”; #35 – “The Shape I’m In”; #37 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #29 – “Deeper By The Minute”; #36 – “Another Sunday Night”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #18 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 20, 2018: #24 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Jan 27, 2018: #27 – “Deeper By The Minute”.
Week of Feb 17, 2018: #25 – “Another Sunday Night”.
The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 Tennessee Album Chart
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #37 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #15 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #5 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #12 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #13 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #15 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 20, 2018: #31 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 27, 2018: #31 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 3, 2018: #16 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 10, 2018: #33 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 17, 2018: #14 – “What It Is”
Week of Feb 24, 2018: #17 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 3, 2018: #18 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 10, 2018: #50 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 17, 2018: #39 – “What It Is”
Week of Mar 24, 2018: #40 – “What It Is”
The Roots Music Report’s Top 200 Blues Rock Album Chart for the Year 2017
#57 – FreeWorld; “What It Is”
WUMR 91.7 FM – Memphis, TN. Top 20 Jazz Countdown
Week of Nov 4, 2017: #15 – “What It Is”
Week of Nov 11, 2017: #9 – “What It Is”
Week of Nov 18, 2017: #5 – “What It Is”
Week of Nov 25, 2017: #1 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 2, 2017: #3 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 9, 2017: #7 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 16, 2017: #12 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 23, 2017: #15 – “What It Is”
Week of Dec 30, 2017: #16 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 6, 2018: #18 – “What It Is”
Week of Jan 13, 2018: #20 – “What It Is”
Australian Blues and Roots Airplay Charts: International Blues Airplay Chart #32. January 2018
FreeWorld – “What It Is” – #14
Check out our reviews, news, photos, past charts and more at…
L.A. Music Critics Award Nominations (second half of 2017):
BEST CD (GROUP) – FreeWorld “What It Is”
BEST BLUES BAND – FreeWorld
WINNER: #1 BEST INDIE ALBUM OF 2017 – FreeWorld “What It Is”
FreeWorld has been an independent, regionally touring, ever-evolving, Memphis based musical ensemble since 1987, and are currently celebrating their 30th Anniversary in 2017. Drawing from influences as broad-based as Booker T. & the M.G.s, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan, and The Meters, these brothers under one multicultural groove have remained a consistently entertaining and informed voice on the Memphis music scene since the group’s inception.
Featuring current band members that range in age from 20-years-young to 87-year-old jazz saxophone legend Dr. Herman Green (who has performed &/or recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, Bob Weir, Stephen Perkins and a host of others during his 72 year professional music career), FreeWorld is literally ‘new school meets old school’, and has been variously described as “The best of Memphis, New Orleans, & San Francisco – all rolled into one fresh & excitingly unique musical experience!”
FreeWorld was honored to receive a coveted Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame in 2012, and they’ve also had the honor and privilege of sharing the stage with a wide variety of musical legends over the years, including Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Billy Preston, Bootsy Collins, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Merl Saunders, Dr. John, Timothy Leary, John Sinclair, The Bar-Kays, Ann Peebles, Steve Cropper, James Cotton, Mojo Buford, Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, and Widespread Panic just to name a few.
FreeWorld’s 7th CD release, entitled “What It Is”, is FreeWorld’s tightest and most ambitious set yet. Produced by the band and co-produced & recorded by Adam Hill at world famous Ardent Studios in Memphis (Led-Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, The Replacements, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc.), the new CD features a special guest appearance on drums & vocals by Jody Stephens of Memphis power pop cult classic “Big Star” fame. Sonically, the new disc was mixed by FreeWorld’s most successful alumnus, the incomparable Dave Aron (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, Sublime, Prince, moe., Rob Wasserman, J.Lo, etc.) at his Hollywood Way Studio in Los Angeles, CA., and mastered by Grammy Award winning mastering engineer Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, TN., so you KNOW it sounds AMAZING!
The CD packaging contains a download card included inside so you can digitally download our new music to your various electronic devices, and we’re also proud to once again feature the amazing art of Memphis painter/muralist David Lynch on the cover. In addition, when you purchase a copy of “What It Is”, we’ll also be throwing in a FREE EP of a live set of “FreeWorld with Levon Helm” from back in 1995 – ENJOY!
Also please feel free to check out our newly updated website at: www.FreeWorldJams.com
Keep your eyes & ears tuned in to FreeWorld throughout 2017 and beyond, as this celebratory year stands as a proud milestone in the band’s musical odyssey that now spans almost a third of a century.
RELATED VIDEOS FROM “What It Is”:
Memphis Made Interview – FreeWorld Richard Cushing
Memphis own FreeWorld celebrates 30 years of being a force in the Memphis Music Scene this year and to mark the milestone they have three incredible October celebrations lined up for October 13-15th at The Levitt Shell, The Bluff and of course on Beale Street at Blues City Cafe! These celebrations will also serve as release parties for the band’s 7th album “What It Is” recorded at legendary Ardent Studios with Adam Hill and includes “Dinja Babe” which features another Memphis Music Legend Jody Stephens (Big Star, Those Pretty Wrongs). Richard Cushing dropped by Memphis Made last Sunday to have a chat on the band’s history and the new album plus a very special companion live EP that fans will get along with the new album. Check out my three-part interview with the driving force behind FreeWorld and get the scoop on the new tunes before you can buy them on October 13th!
For all things FreeWorld visit: facebook.com/Freeworld & freeworldmemphis.com
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS:
FreeWorld: A Jam for the Ages
POSTED BY ALEX GREENE ON WED, OCT 11, 2017 AT 4:37 PM
In a town like Memphis, buzzing with so much talent that players lend their chops to multiple bands, ensembles that retain their name and personnel for many years are rare. Jeffrey and the Pacemakers, just celebrating their ten year anniversary, are notable for their longevity. Yet FreeWorld leaves all the others in the dust where longevity is concerned: for 30 years, they have been a fixture on the local scene, and show no sign of slowing now.
The group was jump-started when young bassist Richard Cushing met saxophonist Herman Green back in 1986-87. The veteran jazz man, now in his 87th year, instantly took a liking to the youngster. To his credit, Green needed no coaxing to step out of his jazz/soul wheelhouse and work with a generation of players who grew up admiring the Grateful Dead or Frank Zappa. As other players were added to the line up, FreeWorld grew into what one writer described as “the best of Memphis, New Orleans, and San Francisco.”
Of course, other players have circulated through the band over the decades, but the core and vision of the band has remained constant. One reason is that their particular blend of influences has played very well on Beale Street, which has served as ground zero for most of their tenure.
This week will witness celebrations of that longevity. Tonight (Wednesday), they’ll be hosting a listening party for their latest album, What It Is, at Ardent Studios, where it was recorded. Dedicated to longtime drummer David Skypeck, whose ill health has interfered with his ability to play lately, the album is as tightly arranged as anything they’ve done, with an emphasis on their funk influences. The outliers might be the Beale St. boogie of “Another Sunday Night,” which name checks Herman Green and the street where he first played professionally; “Dinja Babe,” which evokes ’70s power pop and includes Big Star’s Jody Stephens on drums; and “Eve Waits,” which evokes Indian tonalities. For the most part, the group’s latest dispenses with the Dead-influenced jams and conjures up more raucous nights of funk with powerful horn and synth blasts.
They’ve seen plenty of those, and Memphians can hear them celebrating their many years together this weekend. They’ll be the featured group in the Levitt Shell’s Orion Free Music Concert Series this Friday, with guest artists joining them. And the next night, they’ll throw down at The Bluff on Highland, with members from every period of the band joining them onstage as the night rolls on.
The FreeWorld listening party will be at Ardent Studios, tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 11) at 8:00 pm.
https://issuu.com/desotomagazine/docs/2017_october_issuu (pages 76-77)
30 Years of Jammin’ with FreeWorld
FreeWorld will rock Memphis this month as the legendary group celebrates 30 years together with a new CD and special anniversary performances.
The Band FreeWorld is the embodiment of Memphis’ musical diversity, blending funk, jazz, soul, blues and psychedelic rock. If you’ve lived in Memphis for any amount of time, you’ve likely seen their shows at one of the clubs on Beale Street.
When asked about the secret to keeping it together for 30 years, bandleader Richard Cushing said, “Slow and steady wins the race… it seems to actually work in real life. Professional perseverance coupled with having fun and sharing the love seems to keep us and our fans coming back for more.”
The group has released several critically acclaimed albums but its reputation has been built upon live performances, including the Beale Street Music Festival, which they kicked off again this past May.
“FreeWorld has done approximately 6,000 gigs if you include our acoustic side-project gigs since our inception in 1987,” said Cushing, who is also co-producer, co-songwriter, musical director, business manager and adjunct historian. “I firmly believe that if something is going to last 30 years, there has to be some real value in it.”
Memphians see them as a local band, but they have shared the stage with many big national acts. These include Levon Helm, Billy Preston, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Hot James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, and Widespread Panic among others.
The spiritual leader of the band, 87-year-old saxophone legend Dr. Herman Green has himself played with many Blues, Jazz, and Rock ‘n’ Roll greats, such as B.B. King, Miles Davis and Bob Weir. Both FreeWorld and its long-time trumpet man William “Nokie” Taylor have Brass Notes dedicated to them on historic Beale Street.
The band donated a collection of items relating to the its legacy to the history department of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center in 2005. The FreeWorld Collection is comprised mainly of press releases, recordings, photos, posters and documents outlining the band’s development. In addition to the history of FreeWorld, the chronologically arranged collection gives insight into the local Memphis music scene from the late 1980s to the early 2000s.
Every week, FreeWorld plays to a combination of tourists from all over the world, old-school enthusiasts, and young fans. Many learned of the group through word-of-mouth or discovered the music online or on local radio, such as “Memphis Made” on Rock 103.
“It’s nice to be around long enough now that we’re naturally creating a second generation of FreeWorld fans,” Cushing said.
Currently the band consists of Cushing on bass guitar, lead and backing vocals; Dr. Herman Green, tenor sax; Pete Climie, tenor saxophone, backing vocals; Andy Tate, guitars, lead & backing vocals; Jared Dover, trumpet, trombone, lead and backing vocals; Freedman Steorts, trombone, lead and backing vocals; Chris Stephenson, keyboards, lead and backing vocals; Greg Lundy, drums; and David Skypeck, drummer emeritus and lyrics.
Drummer Emeritus Skypeck, who had a stroke last year, was one of the recipients of “Music Heals,” organized by Memphis Entertainment photographer Danny Day. “When I mentioned to Richard that David was going to be one of our honorees, the band found time to play even with multiple shows elsewhere that night,” said Day. Skypeck is recovering well and can be seen often at FreeWorld shows.
Haven’t seen FreeWorld recently? There are plenty of opportunities as they play every Sunday night at Blues City Cafe on Beale Street and every Thursday night at The Blind Bear downtown. In addition, they play on Saturday afternoons at Central BBQ downtown, and frequently at Rum Boogie on Beale Street on Friday and Saturday nights.
“It’s truly humbling to look back over thousands of live performances, hundreds of band members, countless records, dozens of international tours, innumerable family, friends and benefactors that have supported us over all of these years. We take very seriously the honor and privilege of representing Memphis’ unique musical heritage through our weekly shows,” added Cushing.
With the CD release, the 30th Anniversary celebration and a full bill of performances every week, the question was posed to Cushing whether they ever think about slowing down.
“No way!” replied the energetic leader of the band. In fact, during an extended celebration, FreeWorld will release a new studio album,“What It Is” with shows Friday, October 13 at The Levitt Shell, Saturday, October 14 at The Bluff, and Sunday, October 15 at Blues City Cafe. More details are available on the band’s website, freeworldjams.com, and on its Facebook page.
Another night, another visit to the Levitt Shell. FreeWorld played tonight celebrating their 30th Anniversary and also the release of their new CD. Very large crowd came out tonight to enjoy this great Memphis fall weather.
Let me tell you folks, they put on a fantastic show! They are high energy, and old school Memphis musicians. I first saw them at the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival downtown last month for a very short set and knew I wanted to see them again. They did not disappoint. The best way I can describe their music is a rock, soul, and jazz mix, with some experimental jazz-rock fusion thrown in. These guys are awesome and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
And just in general, if you have not been to the Levitt Shell to see free live music, then you are missing out on some of the best of what Memphis is all about. You only have the rest of this weekend, and about another week and a half to get out and experience it.
Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia
*** FREEWORLD “What It Is”
* Label: Swirldisc.
* Richard Cushing: Fretted & Fretless Bass Guitars, Lead & Backing Vocals, plus Shaker.
* Dr. Herman Green: Tenor Saxophone.
* Peter Climie: Tenor, Baritone & Alto Saxophones, EWI, plus Backing Vocals.
* Andy Tate: Guitars, Electric Sitar, Glissintar, Mandolin, Dobro, Cuatro, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Loops, Samples,
* Chris Stephenson: Hammond B-3, Piano, Keyboards, Lead and Backing Vocals.
* Jared Dover: Trumpet, Backing Vocals, plus Tambourine and Cowbell.
* Greg Lundy: Drums, Cowbell, plus Vocal Rap.
* Freedman Steorts: Trombone.
* Special Guests.
* Jody Stephens: Drums and Backing Vocals on “Dinja Babe”.
* Stephani McCoy: Vocals on “Believe”.
* Prentice Wulff-Woesten: Trombone on “It’s Alright”.
* Adam Hill: Backing Vocals on “Dinja Babe”.
*** Track 1. – “Deeper By The Minute” Written by Cushing, Tate, Climie & Stephenson.
Big, bold, brassy, southern goodness from a band that has paid its dues over and over. All that is right about the south is here to be heard and savoured. If you can keep still with this one playing then you better have your pulse checked, as you might not be breathing at all. When you have performed for more than 30 years your sound is solid, tight and precise, exactly like this. Wow, what a full-blown party time intro to the album.
*** Track 2. – ” Find A Better Way” Written by Cushing, Tate & Climie.
Retaining that funky, heavy, rhythm-based, rollicking style of the previous track, this one also powers along and is also richly layered with brass and cowbell for good measure. There certainly is a distinct Jazz overtone here that certainly plays well with the mix of Funk, Soul, Blues, Rhythm & Blues and quite frankly anything else they can possibly add to the mix. Not a group to merely do it by the numbers, FreeWorld effortlessly and fearlessly lay it on the line. It’s a case of keep up or get left behind and if you don’t get it this time, listen again and you will get it that time.
*** Track 3. – “Shrimp N’ Grits” Written by Stephenson.
Stunning percussion and keys welcome in this track followed by a full-on brass onslaught of the highest order. Wow man this is one helluva way to get my attention! I would be extremely remiss not to mention Tate’s incredible, incendiary guitar playing, as it will melt your fillings from your mouth. This is one serious instrumental that can’t be denied and is certainly the skinny. Such a big sound that is filled with everything that makes you feel good, and even a bit more for good measure. Perfect orchestration and whoever was responsible for the charts, l say bravo! It takes a lifetime of hard work, sweat, warm beer, dives, rejection, acceptance, reward, disappointment, excitement, experience, camaraderie, public adulation, self-doubt, and more to be able to lay down a track like this. So many elements have to come together and the stars align, for when they do this is the result. Perfection.
*** Track 4. – “Dinja Babe” Written by Tate.
Very reminiscent of an eighties power ballad with multiple voices, solid brass and big percussive sound over swirling keys and pounding rhythm section. Not merely an attempt to emulate a time past but rather a note perfect representation from a band that was actually playing “not that long ago,” albeit 30 years ago. Still sounds fresh and has that potency that was the hallmark of the period. Is it a nostalgic piece? I think not, as l rather think it is a band that is introducing a whole new generation to a style of music that was recorded to be enjoyed at parties and really anywhere when you have people getting together. The vocal skills of the band certainly show through on every track but this one emphasizes just how seasoned they are as they blend perfectly. A stirring trip down memory lane for me or a new one for a new listener.
*** Track 5. “It’s Alright” Written by Stephenson.
One thing for certain is man these guys know how to get the very best out of their voices and the band. There is so much to love here with this one what with the complexity of the charts as the arrangement is a work of art. Each and every band member provides a virtuoso performance with their solos. The vocals are so strong and command attention as they weave a spell around the listener with the lyrics. The backing vocals are equally important as the lead vocals here and l suppose this would have most people questioning that statement, but l quantify that by saying the vocals are a whole, a single entity but by multiple singers, to achieve the ultimate brilliance. For me, l find myself thinking that each track on this album is a mini-opera as they are pathos laden and dramatic, climbing to dizzying heights then swooping down to the deepest of depths. Powerful music that few could interpret.
*** Track 6. – “For The Moment” Written by Cushing, Climie & Tate.
Cushing’s Bass is showcased in this stunning sensuous instrumental that also features the complete brass section at their incendiary best. Compared to the previous tracks, one could easily feel there is a somewhat “sparseness” to this one and that is only when compared to previous tracks. Even though there is room to breathe throughout, the band still does not hold back and again produces their trademark blazing solos that quite frankly leave you in awe. Very Jazz orientated at times with the Blues interlaced throughout. I would have to say this is a “thinking persons” FreeWorld track. If you don’t get me, then you need to listen a whole lot more.
*** Track 7. – “The Shape I’m In” Written by Robertson.
Here we have the group paying homage to their expansive Southern roots with a real Southern rocker. Drawing on a wealth of years from groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Poco, Allman Brothers, Creedence, etc. FreeWorld lay it down and pick it up as only they can, and man it’s so damn good. This would have a Texas Roadhouse losing its roof what with the dancing and drinking going on. If you are going down this dusty road, then you better know how to play the music or you will be wearing the beer bottles ala the Blues Brothers. Not with this one, as it is simply a killer.
*** Track 8. – “Sideswiped” Written by Climie.
Sophisticated Blues with a rolling beat that is incessant throughout. Punctuated by mesmerising brass and Hammond plus keys and piano, the recipe for a brilliant instrumental is here. Add to this the hard-running rhythm section and guitar and you have all of the right ingredients for this killer track that is so very tasty.
*** Track 9. – ” Another Sunday Night” Written by Cushing.
Effortlessly slipping back in time to the forties Naw’lins feel that was built around the feel and the groove. FreeWorld do so as if it was nothing at all, and man they swing – and when l say swing, they SWING! When you have such a potent band, the fear for a song like this would be for overplaying but, hey, we have consummate professionals here, and they know exactly what to bring to the table – and man they bring it. This is the perfect foil to the previous tracks on the album and is such a foil to the sound and pace displayed previously. From a time when music was all about having fun, the band having fun, and everybody getting along, this one perfectly takes us back to Beale Street, and wouldn’t it be great to go back there right now.
*** Track 10. – “Believe” Written by Cushing.
Very atmospheric piece, indeed quite removed from the abandonment of the previous track. This one features a beautiful duo with guest Stephani McCoy and Richard Cushing. A rather sensual ballad that lends itself well to the group’s incredible ability to adapt their immense presence to any style, sound, and intensity as required. For me, this perfectly displays the groups wonderful ability to adapt and cover multiple styles rather than pigeonhole themselves. Maybe this is the secret to their longevity.
*** Track 11. – “Eve Waits” Written by Tate.
Another stunning instrumental that features many of the more exotic instruments listed in the credits. Truly beautiful with a Middle Eastern flair to it, completely different to the album but absolutely stunning indeed.
My oh my, where do l start? FreeWorld you have taken me on one helluva journey with your “What It Is” album. I travelled back those 30 odd years with the sound and feel, even went back further which was an absolute delight. You were the masters of the 80’s big, bold, brassy, in-your-face group sound back then, and you still are. There’s no need to change anything about yourselves and l for one am glad you haven’t. Your songwriting is sublime, and every track was a mini-masterpiece. I made mention that l thought the album was made up of mini-operas and l stand by that, and again say that you produced an album of mini “rock inspired Blues operas”. Each and every player on the album was brilliant and displayed virtuoso qualities throughout, and l must say that l thought the charts were sheer genius and could not have been improved upon at all. All in all this is an amazing album, and for people who have never heard of the group, particularly for us overseas, it is a great introduction to a group that has it all and can do it all. Every track was an experience in itself and a mini-adventure then the next track would start and the next adventure would follow. Just a wonderful album and l applaud you for it. You, as a group, prove that age is irrelevant when it comes to talent, and that talent combining to produce great music. I want to wish you all the success possible with this album.
Recensie: FreeWorld – “What It Is” 2017
FreeWorld is een Memphis-based ensemble sinds 1987 en momenteel vieren ze hun 30-jarig bestaan in 2017. De band met in vloeden uit Booker T. & M.G. van, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan.
FreeWorld de 7de CD release, getiteld: “What It Is,” heeft het levenslicht gezien op 13 oktober 2017.
Chris Stephenson: Hammond B3 player / Keyboardist / Vocalist. Gespelld met een aantal groot heden.Victor Wainwright, Jeff Jensen, Will Tucker, Mick Kolossa, The Fast Mothers.
Freedman Steorts: 20 jaar oud en speelt trombone.
Peter Climie – Saxophones, EWI, Background Vocals, Percussion, Horn Arrangements.
Dr. Herman Green: een oud gediende in de blues en jazz wereld deze is in 1955 op twintig jarige leeftijd neergestreken in Memphis.
Richard Cushing: geboren in 1963 en sinds 1981 professioneel muzikant.
De nieuwste van de band – hun moeilijkste en meest ambitieuze nog wel werd geproduceerd en opgenomen in de wereldberoemde Ardent Studios in Memphis (Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, The Replacements, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc. Epeciale gastoptreden op drums en zang door Jody Stephens van Memphis power pop cult classic “Big Star”.
Deze nieuwe schijf werd gemixt door FreeWorld de succesvolste alleskunner en manusje van alles Dave Aron (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, subliem, Prins, moe., Rob Wasserman, JLo, etc.) in Hollywood manier Studios in Los Angeles, CA, en gemasterd door Grammy bekroonde mastering ingenieur Brad Blackwood op Euphonic Masters in Memphis, zodat je weet dat het klinkt zoals het moet Memphis De Frontcover is ontworpen door kunstenaar David Lynch.
FreeWorld heeft al heel wat het podium gedeelt met grote artiesen en groepen. Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns , Billy Preston, Bootsy Collins, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, de hete tonijn, Los Lobos, Merl Saunders, Dr. John, Timothy Leary, John Sinclair, de Bar-Kays, Ann Peebles, Steve Cropper, James Cotton, Mojo Buford, de Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang.
Met huidige bandleden die in leeftijd van 20-jaar-jong tot 87-jarige jazz saxofoon legende Dr. Herman Green variëren, van Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, Bob Weir, Stephen Perkins en een heleboel anderen tijdens zijn 72 jaar professionele muzikale carrière).
Deze nieuwe CD is doordrenkt van soul en blues en jazz invloeden waaraan men denkt aan de hoogtij dagen van Miles Davis.
Houd uw ogen & oren afgestemd op FreeWorld en luister en geniet van deze prachtige muziek van de groep uit Memphis.
Deeper By The Minute , It’s Alright, The Shape I’m In, Sideswiped.
Hopelijk dat nu iedereen deze band zijn naam eer aan doet, en wat vaker naar deze band gaat luisteren om een FREEWORLD er van te maken, aan de muziek zal het niet liggen.
“Deeper By The Minute”: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=gvaa2ajxF3s
PURCHASE LINKS Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/What-Freeworld/dp/B075G2FC1G iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/what-it-is/id1280484400
IMAGES Cover and artist: http://blindraccoon.com/clients/freeworld/
Select-O-Hits 1981 Fletcher Creek Drive Memphis, TN 38133 (901) 388-1190 firstname.lastname@example.org www.selectohits.com
SwirlDisc P.O. Box 820149 Memphis, TN 38182-0149 (901) 278-2038 FreeWorldRocks@usa.net www.FreeWorldJams.com
Publicist: Betsie Brown, Blind Raccoon, email@example.com, 901.268.6065
Booking: Richard Cushing, FreeWorldRocks@usa.net, 901.278.2038
FreeWorld is a Memphis-based ensemble since 1987 and currently they celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2017. The band with influences from Booker T. & M.G. John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan.
FreeWorld’s 7th CD release, entitled “What It Is,” was released on October 13, 2017.
Chris Stephenson: Hammond B3 player / Keyboardist / Vocalist. Performed or recorded with a number of great artists, including Victor Wainwright, Jeff Jensen, Will Tucker, Mick Kolossa, The Fast Mothers.
Freedman Steorts: 20 years old and plays trombone.
Peter Climie: Saxophones, EWI, Background Vocals, Percussion, Horn Arrangements.
Dr. Herman Green: An elder statesman in the blues and jazz world, who settled in Memphis in 1955 at the age of twenty.
Richard Cushing: Band leader, bass and lead vocalist.
The newest release by the band – their tightest and most ambitious yet – produced and recorded in the world famous Ardent Studios in Memphis (Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, The Replacements, REM, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc.) with special guest appearance on drums and vocals by Jody Stephens of Memphis power pop cult classic “Big Star”.
This new disc was mixed by FreeWorld’s most successful alumnus, the incomparable Dave Aron (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, sublime, Prince, tired., Rob Wasserman, JLo, etc.) at his Hollywood Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, so you know it sounds like Memphis! The Front cover was designed by artist David Lynch.
FreeWorld has shared the stage with a lot with great artists and groups, such as: Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Billy Preston, Bootsy Collins, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Merl Saunders, Dr. John, Timothy Leary, John Sinclair, the Bar-Kays, Ann Peebles, Steve Cropper, James Cotton, Mojo Buford, Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Jonny Lang, just to name a few.
With current band members who in age from 20-years-young to 87-year-old jazz saxophone legend Herman Green (who has performed or recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, Bob Weir, Stephen Perkins and a host of others during his 72 year professional musical career)
This new CD is steeped in soul and blues and jazz influences, and is reminiscent of the heyday of Miles Davis.
Keep your eyes and ears tuned to FreeWorld and listen and enjoy this wonderful music from the Memphis group.
Deeper By The Minute, It’s Alright, The Shape I’m In, Sideswiped.
Here’s hoping that everyone enjoys this band, and in doing so will help make a “FREEWORLD” out of more than just the music!
FREEWORLD – WHAT IT IS
Luister vijf seconden naar “Deeper By The Minute”, de openingstrack van “What It Is” van Freeworld en je weet: dit is Amerikaans. Zo Amerikaans als wat. Muziek van vandaag met respect voor het verleden. De invloeden van Freeworld zijn legio: alles wat oud klinkt, van vandaag of toen en dan denken we o.a. aan Booker T. & M.G. van, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead en Steely Dan. De intro van “Deeper By The Minute” bijvoorbeeld zou zo van de Royal Southern Brotherhood kunnen komen, maar de aankleding hier is minder rauw, traditioneler. Je hoort mannen met baarden, die getrouwd zijn met hun fles whisky en hun gitaar; het soort muzikant dat Jeff Bridges enkele jaren geleden zo mooi vertolkte in “Crazy Heart”. De clichés kloppen, zo zien we op foto’s. Alleen dat van de whisky weten we niet. Maar tegelijkertijd hoor je ook: dit zijn mannen die weten waar ze mee bezig zijn. Dit zijn muzikanten van het rasechte soort.
FreeWorld heeft sinds 1987 Memphis als thuisbasis en vieren momenteel hun 30-jarig bestaan, en doen dit nu door een nieuwe cd uit te brengen, getiteld: “What It Is”. Freeworld is geen supergroep, maar toch… Freeworld is een steeds wisselend collectief van muzikanten rond de harde kern Cushing / Green / Skypeck en Stephenson, en neemt het niet zo nauw met de stijlgrenzen zoals die werden uitgezet door de muzikale separatisten. Bij Freeworld geloven ze in de integratie van verschillende genres zonder onderscheid van origine of moeilijkheidsgraad of wat dan ook. Zelfs een poppy deuntje kan bij hen amnestie krijgen. En een greep uit de bandleden, Richard Cushing (bas gitaar, vocals) geboren in 1963 is sinds 1981 professioneel muzikant, Dr. Herman Green is een oud gediende in de blues en jazz wereld, want sinds 1955 is hij op twintig jarige leeftijd neergestreken in Memphis en dan is er nog Chris Stephenson (Hammond B3) die veel ervaring heeft verworven met een aantal groot heden als Victor Wainwright, Jeff Jensen, Will Tucker en Mick Kolossa, artiesten met allemaal een andere achtergrond hebben, maar dat maakt ook dat ze veel variatie aan de dag kunnen leggen. Waar de groep bij hun debuut nog een verzameling muzikanten waren, zijn ze nu naar eigen zeggen een groep geworden.
“What It Is” is dus de nieuwste CD van de band, en misschien wel hun moeilijkste en meest ambitieuze CD in deze dertig jaar. Deze lucky seven werd geproduceerd en opgenomen in de wereldberoemde Ardent Studios in Memphis (Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, The Replacements, R.E.M., Stevie Ray Vaughan…) en als speciale gast op drums en zang kregen ze hulp van Jody Stephens van de Memphis power pop cult band Big Star. Deze nieuwe schijf werd gemixt door Dave Aron (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, subliem, Prins, ….) in de Hollywood Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA, en gemasterd door Grammy bekroonde Brad Blackwood in Euphonic Masters in Memphis, TN, zodat je weet dat het klinkt zoals het moet Memphis. Met titels als “Shrimp N’ Grits”, “Dinja Babe”, “The Shape I’m In” en “Another Sunday Night” weet je ook dat Freeworld niet het type muzikanten zijn die hun platen vullen met hun diepste zielsroerselen. Het moet vooral leuk blijven en vooruit gaan.
Na de eerste drie nummers denk je wel te weten waar het op “What It Is” om zal draaien, maar verderop de plaat worden meer stijlen verkend. Freeworld is allerminst vernieuwend, maar ze etaleren vakmanschap in stijlen van weleer. Wie van retro houdt, mag deze plaat blind aanschaffen. Je krijgt blues, funk, soul en jazz voor de prijs van één. De mengelmoes van stijlen kan eerst wat vreemd overkomen, maar naargelang je jezelf onderdompelt in hun muziek en je hun visie enigszins eigen maakt, wordt alles ineens klaar als pompwater. Het resultaat zou men simpelweg jazz kunnen noemen, waaraan men denkt aan de hoogtij dagen van Miles Davis. Maar, foei, we zijn weer in onze ouwe gewoonten van -in vakjes steken- vervallen. Echter, als je jazz beschouwt als een verzamelnaam voor muzikale onderstromen die op één of andere manier wars zijn van al te makkelijk in het oor liggende niemendalletjes, dan kan het weer wel. Het kind moet immers een naam hebben om het te kunnen aanhalen.
Listen for five seconds to “Deeper By The Minute”, the opening track of “What It Is” by FreeWorld and you know: this is American. As American as it gets. Today’s music with respect for the past. The influences of FreeWorld are countless: everything that sounds old, from today or yesterday, and then we think about Booker T. & M.G. from, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead and Steely Dan. For example, the intro of “Deeper By The Minute” could come from the Royal Southern Brotherhood, but the decoration here is less raw, more traditional. You hear men with beards, who are married with their bottle of whiskey and their guitars; the kind of musician that Jeff Bridges played so nicely in “Crazy Heart” a few years ago. The clichés are correct, as we see in photos. We do not know only that of whiskey. But at the same time you also hear: these are men who know what they are doing. These are musicians of the purebred kind.
Memphis has been home to FreeWorld since 1987 and they are currently celebrating their 30th anniversary, and now doing so by releasing a new CD entitled “What It Is”. FreeWorld is not a supergroup, but still … FreeWorld is an ever-changing collective of musicians around the hard core Cushing, Green, Tate, Climie and Stephenson, and does not take it so closely with the style boundaries as they were plotted by the musical separatists. At FreeWorld they believe in the integration of different genres without distinction of origin or difficulty or whatever. Even a poppy tune can get amnesty with them. And a selection from the band members, Richard Cushing (bass guitar, vocals) born in 1963 has been a professional musician since 1981. Herman Green is an old man in the blues and jazz world, because since 1955 he has settled in Memphis at the age of twenty, and then there is Chris Stephenson (Hammond B3) who has gained a lot of experience with a number of great presentations such as Victor Wainwright, Jeff Jensen, Will Tucker and Mick Kolossa, artists all have a different background, but that also means that they can show a lot of variety. Where the group was still a collection of musicians on their debut, they now have become a group.
“What It Is” is the latest CD of the band, and perhaps their most difficult and most ambitious CD in these thirty years. This lucky seven was produced and recorded in the world famous Ardent Studios in Memphis (Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers Band, The Replacements, REM, Stevie Ray Vaughan …) and as a special guest on drums and vocals they got help from Jody Stephens of the Memphis power pop cult band Big Star. This new disc was mixed by Dave Aron (Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, sublime, Prince, …) at Hollywood Way Studios in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Grammy award-winning Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, TN, so you know it sounds like it should be Memphis. With titles like “Shrimp N ‘Grits”, “Dinja Babe”, “The Shape I’m In” and “Another Sunday Night” you also know that FreeWorld has the type of musicians who fill their records with their deepest souls. It must above all remain fun and go forward.
After the first three songs you think you know what it will be about “What It Is”, but further on the album more styles are explored. FreeWorld is by no means innovative, but they showcase craftsmanship in styles of old. If you like retro, you can purchase this album blind. You get blues, funk, soul and jazz for the price of one. The mishmash of styles can seem a bit strange at first, but depending on whether you immerse yourself in their music and make their vision a bit different, everything is suddenly ready as pump water. The result could simply be called jazz, which is thought to be the heyday of Miles Davis. But, foei, we are back in our old habits of sticking in boxes. However, if you consider jazz to be a collective name for musical undercurrents that are in one way or another averse to those in the ear that are too easy in the ear, then it can be done again. The child must have a name to be able to quote it.
FREE WORLD/What It Is: Funky, multi-culti Memphis boys celebrate their 30th year together by kicking it off mash up style, strong on the left side of the ledger, and continuing to keep it funky. A tasty party on a platter that’s loaded with more goodies than a single disc should be. Well done.
Volume 41/Number 35
December 5, 2017
From a French Writer:
I well received the last envelope. I must say that I didn’t knew “FreeWorld” and
after the first time I listened this release I must say that I’m crazy about
this band. These musicians are full of life and wahoooooo I love this band. Very
good surprise, for sure.
Recensie: FreeWorld – What It Is
FreeWorld – What It Is
Format: CD / Label: Swirldisc
Releasedatum: 5 november 2017
Tekst: Peter Marinus
Het kan soms verkeren. De band FreeWorld viert dit jaar haar dertigste verjaardag, is een begrip in Memphis en omstreken en stelt bij ons helemaal niets voor! Maar ik heb zo maar het vermoeden, dat dat na het beluisteren van dit album allemaal gaat veranderen….
Het meest opvallende bandlid is de 87-jarige saxofonist Dr. Herman Green, die onder andere speelde met grootheden als Miles Davis, John Coltrane en B.B. King. Verder kom je de volgende leden tegen: Richard Cushing (bas), David Skypeck (drums), Pete Climie (tenorsax), Andy Tate (gitaar), Jared Dover (trompet, trombone), Freedman Steorts (trombone), Chris Stephenson (toetsen) en Greg Lundy (drums).
De invloeden van deze band lopen uiteen van Booker T. tot John Coltrane, van Frank Zappa tot the Meters tot Steely Dan. En dat is op dit album zeker te horen! Zoals je al uit de bandsamenstelling kon opmaken domineren de blazers het geluid.
Dit album begint met de funky rhythm & blues van Deeper By The Minute, dat qua geluid ergens tussen Tower Of Power, Wet Willie en de obscure Jack Mack & The Heart Attack in hangt. Het wordt gevolgd door de stevige rocker Find A Better Way met zijn Booker T. orgel en wederom de blazers op de voorgrond. Hetzelfde Booker T. orgel staat centraal in de mellow groove van Shrimp N’ Grits. Een instrumentaal nummer met retestrakke blazersriffs. In Dinja Babe gaat de band onverwachts op de powerpop toer met een geluid dat aan Big Star en Todd Rundgren doet denken. Een afwijkend maar wel prachtig nummer!
In It’s Alright is de Steely Dan invloed goed te horen. Een stijlvolle funky rocker met strak groovende ritmesectie en jazzy toetsenwerk. For The Moment is een fusion-achtige instrumental, die weer meer richting Blood, Sweat & Tears trekt maar dan met continu aanwezige funkrites. The Shape I’m In is een cover van het The Band nummer en klinkt hier als een rauwe Southern-Rock song. Er kan ook nog wel wat soulvolle reggae bij…De blazers domineren de instrumental Sideswiped. In Another Sunday Night wordt Dr. Herman Green in het zonnetje gezet middels een uitbundige blues shuffle. In Believe komt de band tot rust in een rokerige jazz ballad.
De afsluiter Eve Waits duurt bijna 9 minuten en is een irritante mix van world music en fusion waarin vooral de kwakende synthesizer al gauw op je zenuwen gaat werken. Ik had mij een betere afsluiter van dit album kunnen voorstellen.
Als we de afsluiter even vergeten blijft er een zeer indrukwekkend, gevarieerd album over waar de ervaring van af spat.
It can sometimes be. The band FreeWorld celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year, is a concept in Memphis and surroundings, but is not well known outside. But I have the suspicion that after listening to this album everything will change!
The most striking band member is the 87-year-old saxophonist. Herman Green, who played with such greats as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and B.B. King. You will also encounter the following members: Richard Cushing (bass), Pete Climie (tenor sax), Andy Tate (guitar), Jared Dover (trumpet, trombone), Freedman Steorts (trombone), Chris Stephenson (keys ) and Greg Lundy (drums).
The influences of this band vary from Booker T. to John Coltrane, from Frank Zappa to the Meters to Steely Dan. And that is certainly to be heard on this album! As you could already see from the entire composition, the wind players dominate the sound.
This album starts with the funky rhythm & blues of “Deeper By The Minute”, which in terms of sound is somewhere between Tower Of Power, Wet Willie and the obscure Jack Mack & The Heart Attack. It is followed by the sturdy rocker “Find A Better Way” with his Booker T. organ and again the horns in the foreground. The same Booker T. organ is central to the mellow groove of “Shrimp N ‘Grits”. An instrumental track with retro-heavy horn riffs. In “Dinja Babe” the band goes unexpectedly on the power pop tour with a sound reminiscent of Big Star and Todd Rundgren. A different but beautiful song!
In “It’s Alright” the Steely Dan influence can be heard well. A stylish funky rocker with tightly grooving rhythm section and jazzy keyboard work. “For The Moment” is a fusion-like instrumental, which draws more towards Blood, Sweat & Tears but with a continuously present funky groove. “The Shape I’m In” is a cover of The Band song and sounds like a raw Southern-Rock song. There may also be some soulful reggae… The wind players dominate the instrumental “Sideswiped”. In “Another Sunday Night”, Dr. Herman Green was put in the limelight by an exuberant blues shuffle. In “Believe” the band comes to rest in a smoky jazz ballad.
The closing track “Eve Waits” lasts almost 9 minutes and is an annoying mix of world music and fusion in which especially the quacking synthesizer soon starts to work on your nerves. I could have imagined a better conclusion to this album.
If we forget the closing, there is a very impressive, varied album about what the experience is about.
FreeWorld – What It Is (Swirldisc SD 87625 445)
· Posted by Norman John Darwen on December 11, 2017 at 14:53
This cross-generational, multicultural Memphis based group celebrates its thirtieth anniversary with this release, so that the youngest members were not even born when the band began, though 87 year old saxman Dr. Herman Green already had many years of experience of working with the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, BB King and Bob Weir. This set runs the whole range of Memphis music from soul and funk to rock, pop and blues. Occasionally there are tinges of New Orleans funk maestros The Meters, classic soul, sixties and seventies pop-rock – take a listen to ‘Dinja Babe’, which appropriately enough features drums and backing vocals by Jody Stephens of cult rock band Big Star. There is a fine cover of The Band’s ‘The Shape I’m In’ mixed in with plenty of big brassy riffing and slinky rhythms behind lead singer Richard Cushing, plus several fine if lengthy instrumentals. ‘Believe’ is a mellow, jazzy duet between Richard and Stephani McCoy, and the final number begins in psychedelic mode with Indian influences to follow a very individual path. Certainly a distinctive release.
FreeWorld review…December 13, 2017….
Posted December 14, 2017 by dvcrow56 in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment
WHAT IT IS
SWIRLDISC SD 87625 445
DEEPER BY THE MINUTE–FIND A BETTER WAY–SHRIMP ‘N’ GRITS–DINJA BABE–IT’S ALRIGHT–FOR THE MOMENT–THE SHAPE I’M IN–SIDESWIPED–ANOTHER SUNDAY NIGHT–BELIEVE–EVE WAITS
FreeWorld describe themselves as an “independent, regionally-touring, ever-evolving, Memphis-based musical ensemble” who have been performing as a unit since 1987. That 30-year celebration coincides with the release of their seventh album overall, “What It Is.”
The group formed back then when bassist Richard Cushing met sax legend Dr. Herman Green. The band’s many influences are all over this collection, including Tower of Power, Grateful Dead, Coltrane, Booker T., Zappa, The Meters, Steely Dan, and many more diverse outfits. These originals take the listener up and down Beale St. with some serious funk, jazz, blues, R & B, and even an Eastern-influenced tune.
Let’s get down to what it REALLY is. The set starts with the horn-driven funk of “Deeper By The Minute,” then gives way to the socially-conscious explosiveness of “Find A Better Way,” where we learn to “celebrate, don’t separate,” and “every day is a gift.” Beatle-esque harmonies and backing vocals from Memphis icon Jody Stephens drive the dreamy “Dinja Babe,” while Stephani McCoy is the guest vocalist on the jazz-themed, “Believe.”
Our favorite was easy. Capturing the very spirit of Memphis blues, and, more specifically, Beale Street, “Another Sunday Night” is a stone cold party from B.B. King’s down to Blues City Cafe and every joint in between! Add in some killer tenor work, and you’ll see why they call him “Dr. Green!”
FreeWorld funks up the rock, and rocks up the funk. They’ve cooked up a serious Memphis soul stew on Bobby Flay’s cooking show, and, they are a Beale Street institution, and they have their own Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame as proof of their excellence in all things music. Satisfy your soul, and find out “What It Is” all about from FreeWorld. Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
ARTISTS WORTH CHECKING OUT, GET IT OR FORGET IT, REVIEWS
GET IT OR FORGET IT – ROBBERY INC., FREEWORLD, TYA, LOUISE LEMON, SEASONAL BEAST
DECEMBER 20, 2017 LAMUSICCRITIC@GMAIL.COM LEAVE A COMMENT
It’s the last day of fall, with winter already pounding at our door. Christmas is right around the corner, and there is still so much music to review. Here are another five to give you something to think about. Enjoy.
Artist Name: FreeWorld
Album Name: “What It Is”
Track Listing: 1. Deeper by the Minute; 2. Find a Better Way; 3. Shrimp n’ Grits; 4. Dinja Babe; 5. It’s Alright; 6. For the Moment; 7. The Shape I’m In; 8. Sideswiped; 9. Another Sunday Night; 10. Believe; 11. Eve Waits
Publicist: Blind Raccoon
Review: We love the blues, and FreeWorld is one of the best out there. From their home in Memphis, they are spreading their music to the world. They are also celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band, and we truly believe they will have many more years to come. What It Is, their seventh studio release, was mixed by the incomparable Dave Aron and mastered by Grammy winning engineer Brad Blackwood. From the first notes of “Deeper by the Minute,” it becomes immediately evident that this band knows their stuff, and they have come to share their mastery of the blues. This one is great from start to finish, and features some amazing instrumental tracks as well.
Recommendation: This one is a no-brainer – you simply MUST Get this one and put it on repeat.
Styles: Blues Rock
Visit Artist/Band Website
Written by Duane Verh
December 17, 2017 – 12:00am EST
Whether by design or not, the sound and approach of FreeWorld evoke those of the progressive “horn bands” of the 70’s, such as Lighthouse, Rare Earth and Ten Wheel Drive. The originals offered up by this Memphis-based eight-piece sport both the brawny horn charts and positive lyric messages that recall that particular sound and that era and do so with a vitality that endures through a most enjoyable set. Standout tracks include “Deeper By The Minute”, “Dinja Babe”, “It’s Alright” and the instrumentals “Shrimp N’ Grits” and “For The Moment”. Their energetic take on The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” beats the stiff odds against successfully covering classics.
An Interview with Richard Cushing of FreeWorld!
|Ecrit par Fred Delforge|
|lundi, 25 décembre 2017
What it is
(SwirlDisc – Select-O-Hits – Blind Raccoon – 2017)
Durée 56’05 – 11 Titreshttp://www.freeworldmemphis.comTrente années après sa création, FreeWorld est une des figures de proue de la scène blues de Memphis, sa ville d’origine, et il n’y a rien de bien surprenant à remarquer que le combo dispose de sa note de musique sur le fameux Walk Of Fame sur Beale Street depuis 2012 ou encore qu’il a été récompensé par un Memphis Sound Award la même année. Fort de nombreux concerts sur tout le territoire américain mais aussi de deux tournées européennes, le groupe du chanteur et bassiste Richard Cushing se fend de son septième album pour dignement célébrer trois décennies passées au service de la musique et c’est en compagnie de Dr Herman Green au sax ténor, Peter Climie aux saxophones, Andy Tate aux guitares et aux claviers, Chris Stephenson au chant et aux claviers, Jared Dover à la trompette, Freedman Steorts au trombone et Greg Lundy à la batterie que FreeWorld nous propose une musique à la fois vaste et variée dans laquelle le blues, la soul, le funk et le rhythm’n’blues se teintent ingénieusement d’une pointe de pop, d’electro ou encore de sonorités latinos voire de rap. Enregistré et produit aux fameux Studios Ardent de Memphis, « What It Is » joue à fond la carte de la couleur locale et s’offre parmi ses divers guests un certain Jody Stephens, transfuge de Big Star qui vient tenir les baguettes et assurer les chœurs aux côtés d’Adam Hill sur « Dinja Babe ». Ajoutez enfin Stephani McCoy au chant sur « Believe » et Prentice Wulff-Woesten au trombone sur le tittle track et vous obtenez un album qui sait passer des morceaux à la fois classiques et dansants comme « Deeper By The Minute », « Shrimp N’Grits », « The Shape I’m In » ou encore « Another Sunday Night » à des choses plus inattendues et plus intimistes comme « Eve Waits ». Et toujours ce formidable Memphis Sound qui pousse FreeWorld à nous donner des fourmis dans les jambes et qui provoque irrémédiablement cette folle envie d’y retourner pour retrouver les couleurs et les odeurs de la ville et bien entendu cette musique omniprésente qui vous saute dans les bras à chaque coin de rue … Un must !
Thirty years after its creation, FreeWorld is one of the leading figures of the blues scene in Memphis, its hometown, and it is not surprising to note that the combo has its own musical Brass Note on the world famous Beale Street Walk Of Fame since 2012 or that they were awarded a Memphis Sound Award the same year. With numerous concerts throughout the US but also two European tours, the group lead by singer and bassist Richard Cushing released their seventh album to worthily celebrate three decades spent in the service of music. Also featuring Dr. Herman Green on tenor sax, Peter Climie on saxophones, Andy Tate on guitars and keyboards, Chris Stephenson on vocals and keyboards, Jared Dover on trumpet, Freedman Steorts on trombone and Greg Lundy on drums, FreeWorld offers us music from their vast and varied experience in which blues, soul, funk and rhythm ‘n’ blues are ingeniously tinged with a touch of pop, electro, and even Latin sounds and rap. Recorded and produced at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, “What It Is” plays the cards of local color and offers among its various guests Jody Stephens from Big Star, who comes to hold the drumsticks and add backing vocals to the chorus – alongside Adam Hill – on “Dinja Babe”. Finally add Stephani McCoy to the vocals on “Believe” and Prentice Wulff-Woesten on the trombone on the title track, and you get a band that knows how to play both classic and dance songs like “Deeper By The Minute”, “Shrimp N’Grits”, ” The Shape I’m In” and “Another Sunday Night”, to more unexpected and intimate songs like “Eve Waits “. And always this great Memphis Sound that pushes FreeWorld to give us ants in the pants and that irreparably causes this crazy desire to return to find the colors and smells of the city and of course this omnipresent music that jumps into your arms at every street corner … a must!
What it is
|Genre musical: Cuivré et chaleureux
Label : SWIRLDISC
Distributeur : SELECT-O-HITS
Quelques chiffres. Freeworld, groupe formé il y a trente ans à Memphis, ce sont huit musiciens âgés de vingt à quatre-vingt-sept ans qui sortent leur septième album qui comporte onze titres (dix compos – une reprise), voilà ce qu’est ‘What It Is’. Ils ont décidé de s’offrir un beau cadeau en s’allouant les services de David Lynch pour la pochette, en enregistrant au mythique Ardent studio, en confiant le mixage à Dave Aron et la finalisation à Brad Blackwood ce qui fait de ce disque une grosse balle atomique au son puissant, parce qu’en plus, les musiciens se sont lâchés. Guitare, basse, batterie, claviers et une section de quatre cuivres dont le fameux Dr Herman Green avec ses plus de soixante-dix ans de carrière. La reprise, c’est ‘The Shape I’m In’ de The Band avec une section rythmique rouleau compresseur, une guitare mordante et des cuivres en ordre serré. Quasiment tout l’album est de cet acabit, ces types ont la classe du Chicago Transit Authority des grands jours. Il y a du funk, du rock, du blues, de l’envie de vivre et de partager dans chaque titre. Plusieurs des musiciens touchent au micro, on a même droit dans ‘Find A Better Way’ à un peu de rap au milieu du titre qui serait le résultat d’un accouplement entre Led Zeppelin et Tower Of Power. ‘Shrimp N’Grits’ nous donne l’occasion de constater que Andy Tate, le guitariste est tout, sauf manchot. ‘Deeper By The Minute’ qui ouvre l’album, est une mise en bouche où le batteur, Greg Lundy montre son savoir-faire métronomique en accord avec la basse et la voix forte de Richard Cushing. ‘For The Moment’ s’oriente plutôt sur un jazz-rock soft avec le clavier de Chris Stephenson omniprésent et un solo de trompette de Jared Dover suivi par une intervention du guitariste qui allume le titre pour finir au pas de course. On peut juger du bel ensemble des cuivres (Peter Climie aux saxophones, Freedman Steorts au trombone, Dr Herman Green et Jared Dover déjà cités) sur des titres comme ‘Sideswiped’ ou ‘Another Sunday Night’. Stephani McKoy a été invitée pour un duo sur un titre feutré mais qui fait quand même claquer des doigts ‘Believe’. Le dernier morceau du CD dans lequel n’apparaissent pas du tout les cuivres et qui tranche avec le reste de l’album, ‘Eve Waits’ est à tendance jazzy mystico progressif. Freeworld, pour son trentième anniversaire nous offre là un superbe cadeau avec What It Is. Happy birthday !
Some numbers. FreeWorld, formed thirty years ago in Memphis, are eight musicians aged twenty to eighty-seven who released their seventh album that includes eleven tracks (ten original songs and one cover). That’s ‘What It Is’. They decided to give themselves a beautiful gift by lining up the services of David Lynch for the cover art, recording at the legendary Ardent studios, confiding the mix to Dave Aron and the mastering to Brad Blackwood, which makes this big atomic ball of a record sound powerful, because in addition, the musicians have musically let go. Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and a section of four horns including the famous Dr. Herman Green, with his more than seventy-year career in music. The cover is ‘The Shape I’m In’ by The Band, with a steamroller of a rhythm section, a biting guitar and brass in close order. Almost all the album is of this ilk, these guys have the Chicago Transit Authority’s class of big days. There is funk, rock, blues, and the desire to live and share in each title. Most of the musicians also sing, and it is even right in ‘Find A Better Way’ to add a little rap in the middle of a song that would be the result of a coupling between Led Zeppelin and Tower Of Power. ‘Shrimp N’ Grits’ gives us the opportunity to see that Andy Tate, the guitarist, is everything but a muddler. ‘Deeper By The Minute’ which opens the album, is an appetizer where the drummer, Greg Lundy, shows his metronomic know-how in agreement with the bass and loud voice of Richard Cushing. ‘For The Moment’ focuses more on a soft jazz-rock with ubiquitous Chris Stephenson’s keyboard and a trumpet solo by Jared Dover followed by a solo by the guitarist who lights the song on fire to finish at a mad dash. We can judge the beautiful set of brass (Peter Climie on saxophones, Freedman Steorts on trombone, Dr. Herman Green and Jared Dover already mentioned) on titles like ‘Sideswiped’ or ‘Another Sunday Night’. Stephani McCoy guests on a duet on the emotional song, ‘Believe’. The last piece of the CD in which the brass does not appear at all and which contrasts with the rest of the album, ‘Eve Waits’ is trendy jazzy mystico progressive. FreeWorld, for its thirtieth birthday offers us a great gift with ‘What It Is’. Happy birthday!
Issue: Volume 11, No. 3 January 19, 2018
What It Is
Based in Memphis, this 8-piece band has been doing their thing for over 30 years. With a strong horn section, fiery rhythm section and stellar lead vocalists, the band dishes out blues, R&B, jazz, and pretty much whatever else feels right. They’re entertainers and their music (10 original songs and one cover) appeals to a wide range of aficionados. Lead vocals by Richard Cushing and Chris Stephenson come with soul and enough emotion to convince. Various soloists from the band enter with improvised work that suits the band’s name well. Even the quiet and tactful rap vocal by Greg Lundy makes sense when considered with the heartfelt messages coming across. FreeWorld brings many effective weapons to the forum and succeeds in doing it right.
Several instrumental numbers give the session excitement and drive. Vocal selections such as “The Shape I’m In” and “Deeper by the Minute” come with a strong R&B ambience. “Another Sunday Night” gives Stephenson the opportunity to introduce the band members and to sing about the band’s history. Tenor saxophone, organ and guitar take turns showing what it’s like to have fun working out on a Sunday night with fans who love ’em and club owners who appreciate the kind of kick they provide year after year after year.
Monday, January 15, 2018
Swirl Disc artist: FreeWorld – What It Is – New Release Review
I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, What It Is, from FreeWorld and it’s a horn infused party. Opening with Deeper By The Minute , Richard Cushing, lead vocalist and bass player sets the pace with Dr. Herman Green on tenor sax, Peter Climie on tenor, bari and alto sax, Andy Tate on guitar, Chris Stephenson on keys, Jared Dover on trumpet, Freedman Steorts on trombone and Greg Lundy on drums. A funky rocker with tight horns and a funky beat, cool opener. Shrimp N’ Grits is a solid horn saturated instrumental. One of my favorite tracks on the release, it features a real nice flow of trumpet and sax solos by Dover and Climie as well as a vicious guitar solo by Tate. Another of my favorite tracks blends funk and neo-soul on It’s Alright . A great bass riff and shimmery piano work shine and punchy horn work keeps it tight. A fat guitar solo by Tate really hangs out against the somewhat conservative horn backing making it all the more impactful. Taking a jazzier route on For The Moment , Cushing’s bass line is terrific, Dover’s muted trumpet work is very cool, and flanged guitar soloing by Tate really pushes it over the top with anxious horn punches. Very nice! A great sax lead on Sideswiped really digs in over a subdued funky key rhythm and punchy horns. An expanded electric key solo adds to the overall tension of this cool instrumental and then it’s back to Tate who is not bashful throwing down a bold guitar solo. Very nice. Wrapping the release is eastern influenced, Eve Waits. A creative, classical jazz track with lead bass and instrumental weaving over a solid western drum rhythm. Interesting conclusion to a really cool release.
Kentucky Blues Society Review:
(Swirldisc Records) FreeWorld is a Memphis based blues/funk group who has been honored with an official day in their hometown in 2012 and given a coveted Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame for 25 years of performances on Beale Street. The eight-man band ranges in age from 20-years-old to 87-year-old saxophonist Dr. Herman Green. Certainly a very cohesive unit and frequently bluesy, but they move into fink ala New Orleans Meters and out and out rock on “Find A Better Way”. There is no doubt that an evening spent with the band would definitely get you moving and the album is a successful demonstration of their sound. On “Another Sunday Night”, they declare that FreeWorld is there to party and certainly that is the band’s direction constantly with wailing guitars, sax and keyboards.
CATFISH BLUES 1|2|18: STAVOLTA SIAMO CON FREEWORLD
Stavolta siamo con FREEWORLD, glorioso ensemble di Memphis dalla militanza più che trentennale.
Il groove multiculturale e multigenerazionale della band rivendica influenze disparate, da Booker T. & the M.G.’s a Frank Zappa, dagli Steely Dan ai Meters. L’organico allinea provetti musicisti ventenni a veterani della classe del sassofonista Dr. Herman Green, 87 anni suonati al fianco di gente come Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King e Louis Armstrong.
La nuova prova di FreeWorld, intitolata ‘What It Is‘, è l‘emblematico incontro tra new school e vecchi maestri, una cartolina che riassume i migliori panorami sonori di Memphis, New Orleans e San Francisco in un’unica esperienza artistica.
This time we are with FREEWORLD, a glorious Memphis ensemble with more than thirty years of musical history.
The multicultural and multigenerational groove of the band claims disparate influences, from Booker T. & the M.G.’s to Frank Zappa, from Steely Dan to Meters. The band brings together experienced musicians in their twenties to a veteran of the saxophone Dr. Herman Green, 87 years old, who has played alongside artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King and Louis Armstrong.
The new FreeWorld CD, entitled ‘What It Is’, is the emblematic meeting between new school and old masters, a postcard that summarizes the best soundscapes of Memphis, New Orleans and San Francisco in a single artistic experience.
Keys & Chords (Netherlands) Review
Freeworld uit Memphis, onder leiding van bassist Richard Cushing ontstond omstreeks 1986. Deze Tower of Power-achtige band verwierf nogal wat ervaring. En dan praat ik niet alleen over de bijna 300 concerten die ze jaarlijks doen, maar ook over de muzikanten die meedoen. Zo herkennen we jazz veteraan, saxofonist Dr. Herman Green en toetsenist Chris Stephenson, die het podium al deelde met Shirley Brown en Bobby Bland. In 1993 kwamen ze twee keer op tour in Europa. En ondertussen begeleidden ze Steve Cropper, The Memphis Horns, Calvin Newborn, James Cotton, Kenny Neal, Ivan Neville, Little Jilly King, Eric gales, Gerage Coleman en vele anderen.Deze band is subliem in het brengen van allerhande deelgenres van soul en rhythm & blues.
‘What It is’ is hun vierde full cd, opgenomen in de legendarische Ardent Studios in Memphis. Het merendeel van de songs lijkt op het werk van Tower Of Power. Maar de New Jersey-soul van ‘Dinja Babe’ is geschikt voor Southside Johnny en kon zomaar door Little Steven geschreven zijn.
‘It’s Alright’ heeft dan weer wat weg van Isaac Hayes of Curtis Mayfield. ‘For The Moment’ lijkt op het werk dat Jan Hammer en Billy Cobham in het verleden maakten. ‘The Shape I’m In’, een song van The Bands, Robbie Robertson, had in deze uitvoering niet misstaan in het repertoire van de J. Geilsband, al doet het ook wel denken aan de vroege Elvis Costello.
Het instrumentale ‘Sideswiped’ refereert meerdere keren naar Stevie Wonder en Peter Gabriel zou wel eens jaloers kunnen worden op ‘Eve Waits’. Er staat voor iedereen die van power en soul houdt iets naar zijn of haar meug op deze cd. Schitterend gedaan.
Richard Cushing (bas, lead- en backing-zang)
Dr. Herman Green (tenor sax)
Peter Climie (tenor, baritone en alt sax)
Andy Tate (gitaar, sitar, mandoline, dobro, cuatro, toetsen, backing-zang)
Chris Stephenson (Hammond B-3, piano, lead- en backing-zang)
Jared Dover (trompet, backing-zang, tamboerijn, koebel)
Greg Lundy (drums, vocale rap)
Freedman Steorts (Trombone)
Peter Jacobs (4)
This Tower of Power-like album showcases more than what appears on the surface. This powerful soul cd driven by a fantastic horn section echoes music that sounds sometimes like Stevie Wonder, Little Steven or Southside Johnny, Isaac Hayes, Billy Cobham, some Curtis Mayfield, The J. Geils Band and maybe even Elvis Costello. It also contains a superb cover of Robbie Robertson’s ‘The Shape I’m In’. This is the real Memphis deal! I want to see this band on the Belgian stages this year!
FreeWorld from Memphis, led by bassist Richard Cushing, was formed in 1987. This Tower of Power-like band acquired quite a bit of experience. And then I’m not only talking about the almost 300 concerts that they do every year, but also about the musicians who take part. That’s how we recognize jazz veteran, saxophonist, Dr. Herman Green and keyboardist Chris Stephenson, who already shared the stage with Shirley Brown and Bobby Bland. In 1993 they toured Europe twice. Meanwhile, they accompanied Steve Cropper, The Memphis Horns, Calvin Newborn, James Cotton, Kenny Neal, Ivan Neville, Little Jilly King, Eric Gales, George Coleman and many others. This band is sublime in bringing all kinds of soul and rhythm & blues.
‘What It is’ is their seventh full CD, recorded in the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Most of the songs are similar to Tower of Power’s work. But the New Jersey soul of ‘Dinja Babe’ is suitable for Southside Johnny and could just have been written by Little Steven.
‘It’s Alright’ is a bit like Isaac Hayes or Curtis Mayfield. ‘For The Moment’ is similar to the work that Jan Hammer and Billy Cobham made in the past. ‘The Shape I’m In’, a song by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, did not look out of place in the repertoire of the J. Geils Band, although it also reminds of the early Elvis Costello.
The instrumental ‘Sideswiped’ refers to Stevie Wonder several times and Peter Gabriel might become jealous of ‘Eve Waits’. There is something for everyone who loves power and soul to his or her gut on this CD. Gorgeously done.
Peter Jacobs (4 Stars)
FreeWorld is a Memphis, Tennessee tradition, becoming synonymous and representing the Memphis musical groove since members of the group first began playing together in the late 1980’s. The songs on their latest release, What It Is percolate, horns playing tag with one another and wrestling space from the electric guitar fire of “Shrimp ‘n Grits”, smoothly conjuring a dreamy soundscape for “Believe”, cruising on west-coast Beach-Boys harmonies for the sunshine beat of “Dinja Babe”, and dipping Rock-Funk in the Blues for “Sideswiped”. Core members for FreeWorld have welcomed in other players and special guests on stage and recording over the course of their three decades as a band and they showcase the intuitive nature of longtime bandmates as horns, rhythm section, and guitars join into a melody line of positivity for “Find a Better Way”. FreeWorld rev up a Soul salvation show for “Another Sunday Night” on Beale Street, and share the love in “It’s Alright” as What It Is chops up some Funk for “Deeper by the Minute” and re-makes The Band’s “The Shape I’m In”.
Listen and buy the music of FreeWorld from AMAZON
BLUES IN THE SOUTH (UK):
Title: What It Is
Label: SwirlDisc /Select-O-Hits SD87625 445
FreeWorld began life in nineteen eighty-seven in Memphis; Created by the veteran and now eighty-seven year old tenor saxophonist Dr. Herman Green with the aim of creating a joyously freewheeling band ethos which absorbs the many and varying influences from places such as; Memphis, New Orleans and San Francisco.
This horn driven band is more of an ensemble due, in part to the large and varied number of guest musicians who have played in the band at one time or another. Dr. Green is the mainstay of the band and has, in his seventy-two year career worked with a plethora of respected musicians including; John Coltrane, Miles Davis, BB King and Bob Weir. Joining him here are; Richard Cushing; lead vocals bass, Peter Climie; Tenor, baritone and alto saxophones, Andy Tate; guitars, Chris Stephenson; Hammond B-3, Jared Dover; trumpet, Greg Lundy; drums and Freedman Steorts on trombone.
The sheer enthusiasm and professionalism in the music that pours forth from the speakers is simply astounding, especially so when you pause to consider the fact that the youngest member of the band is only twenty years old. The eleven numbers here encompass the sweet funk sounds of the Meters, classic soul and sparkling tramping seventies funk, there is even a hint of seventies prog/pop rock with the rousingly “Dinja Babe”, Jody Stephens, who was the drummer with the rock band ‘Big Star’ adds that extra percussive edge. There is a splendid version of ‘The Band’s’ “The Shape I’m In”, the stompin’ backbeat combined with the blaring and punching horns lay down a fiery carpet for a raging and enjoyably strident guitar. “Believe”, is a slow rolling smoky jazz burner, the slippin’ brushwork, lonesome horns and trumpet sets the scene for a lazy, hazy duet between Richard and Stephani McCoy. “Eve Waits”, lays out a floating and weaving Indian transcendental ride for you to climb aboard and to restfully sink into the floating world experiences it offers you to enjoy. “Deeper By The Minute”, is an out and out funker with the horns and driving backbeat setting you firmly in the groove. “Find A Better Way”, continues this seventies theme, it even includes a spoken word interlude to spur you on. The classic New Orleans sound is very evident on the toe tapping “Another Sunday Night”, where the horns are smoothly enticing and the pounding backbeat supports a very alluring and swirling organ, paired with racing guitar.
BLUES & ROOTS MAGAZINE
“JAZZ & MORE”
“What It Is”
Richard Cushing (b, voc), Dr. Herman Green (sax), Peter Climie (sax, voc), Andy Tate (g, mand, sit, keys, voc, loops & samples), Chris Stephenson (keys, voc), Jared Dover (tp, voc, perc), Greg Lundy (dr, voc), Freedman Steorts (tb).
The Joy of Music Making im besten Sinn des Wortes verkörpert die Band FreeWorld. Das um 1987 gegründete Oktett unter der Leitung von Richard Cushing umfasst gestandene Studio- und Live-Cracks aus dem Raum Memphis und hat sich horn-getriebenem sound à la frühe Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Lighthouse oder Ten Wheel Drive verschrieben. Komponiert wird im Rahmen der Formation – einzige Ausnahme die bemerkenswerte Version des Klassikers ”The Shape I’m in” von The Band – mit einer erfrischenden stilistischen Offenheit. Locker und knackig sind die Songs aufgesetzt, abwechslungsreich die Arrangements, Radio-tauglich z. B. das melodiöse ”It’s Alright”, herausragend die beiden instrumentalnummern ”Shrimp n’ Grits” und
”For the Moment”. Nicht zu Unrecht schoss ”What It Is” schon kurz nach seinem Erscheinen die alternativen charts hoch und heimste einen L.A. Music Critics Award in der Kategorie “#1 Best Indie Album” ein. Wir geniessen auf ”What It Is” gut 56 Minuten einer durchs Band mitreissenden und abwechslungsreichen party auf höchstem musikalischen Niveau. Hier sind Könner mit Herz und Seele am Werk.
The Joy of Music Making in the best sense of the word, the band embodies FreeWorld. An octet founded in 1987 under the direction of Richard Cushing includes seasoned studio and live musicians from the city of Memphis and has a horn-driven sound à la early Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Lighthouse or Ten Wheel Drive. All songs are original compositions by the band – with only one exception, the remarkable version of the classic “The Shape I’m in” by The Band – with a refreshing stylistic openness. Relaxed and crisp, the songs are set up with varied arrangements, suitable for radio Z, including the melodic “It’s Alright”, and two outstanding instrumental numbers “Shrimp n ‘Grits” and “For the moment”. Not unjustly, “What It Is” shot up the alternative charts up shortly after it’s release, and took home the L.A. Music Critics Award in the category of “#1 Best Indie Album”. We enjoy all 56 minutes on “What It Is”, with rousing, varied music from the band that parties at the highest musical level. These are experts with heart and soul at work.
FreeWorld – What It Is
11 songs – 57 minutes
With a history stretching back over 30 years, FreeWorld is something of a Memphis institution, having been awarded a coveted Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk of Fame back in 2012. The band cites influences as wide-ranging as Booker T. & the M.G.’s, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan, and The Meters, and these names give a fair indication of what can be found on FreeWorld’s seventh album, What It Is.
Opening track, “Deeper By The Minute”, sounds like a soul-funk band have kidnapped Robbie Williams’ “Let Me Entertain You” and added groove and an emotional pulse, while “Find A Better Way” goes down a rockier route, with its Deep Purple-esque chorus riff and Andy Tate’s rock guitar solo. “Dinja Babe”, by contract, with Big Star’s Jody Stephens guesting on drums and backing vocals, has a Beatles-esque vocal line in its verses. Throughout, the wall of sound produced by the horn section adds real emphasis and power.
After a number of personnel changes over the years, the current line-up features Richard Cushing on lead vocals and bass; Dr. Herman Green on tenor saxophone; Peter Climie on tenor, baritone and alto saxs; Andy Tate on guitars, electric sitar, glissintar, mandolin, dobro, cuatro and keyboards; Chris Stephenson on Hammond B-3, piano and keyboards; Jared Dover on trumpet; Greg Lundy on drums and Freedman Steorts on trombone. With ages ranging from 20-years-young to the 87-year-old jazz saxophone legend Dr. Herman Green, FreeWorld reaps the benefits of combining the energy and passion of youth with the power and muscularity of maturity.
The majority of the tracks are upbeat and positive, both musically and lyrically. Even the ballad “Believe”, with lovely lead vocals from guest, Stephani McCoy, carries an uplifting message. 10 of the 11 songs on What It Is were written by various band members. The sole cover on the album is a nailed-on take on The Band’s classic “The Shape I’m In”.
There are four instrumentals on What It Is: the funk-rock of “Shrimp N’ Grits” with its gloriously over-the-top guitar solo from Tate, the closing “Eve Waits” and the jazz-fusion of “For The Moment” and “Sideswiped”, neither of which would have sounded out of place on one of Jeff Beck’s late 70s albums.
Indeed, the entire album has something of a late-70s feel to it, with the easy virtuosity of the musicians and the willingness to let the soloists stretch out (only one track clocks in at under four minutes). The influence of the great horn-driven pop-rock bands of the era, such as Lighthouse or The Tower of Power, is self-evident throughout.
Of course, the 1970s was not a perfect decade, and some of the self-indulgence of the era can be detected in the drawn-out introspection of the near nine-minute, “Eve Waits”, which is a slightly curious way to end an otherwise very impressive album.
Produced and recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, What It Is isn’t a blues album by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, a joyous soul-funk-rock album that will put a smile on the hardest of faces. What It Is is what it is and should be enjoyed as such.
FEBRUARY 4, 2018 BY RHYS WILLIAMS
FreeWorld “What It Is”. SwirlDisc / Blind Raccoon 2017.
Para celebrar sus treinta años en activo, la banda FreeWorld publica ahora un excelente trabajo grabado en los famosos Ardent Studios de Memphis. FreeWorld es un grupo imprescindible y toda una atracción en el mundo del espectáculo de Memphis, lo que les ha dado la oportunidad de compartir escenario con artistas de la talla de Levon Helm, Billy Preston, Dereck Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Dr. John, James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughan, Susan Tedeschi y muchos otros de gran nivel y envergadura. La edad de los ocho músicos que actualmente forman este grupo oscila entre los veinte años de su miembro mas joven, hasta los ochenta y siete años del legendario saxofonista Dr. Herman Green (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Bob Weir…) Las once canciones del álbum reflejan una interesante mezcla de sus muchas, variadas y variopintas influencias que van desde Booker T. & The M.G.’s hasta John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Steely Dan o The Meters. En el disco se recogen todas estas y algunas más lo que le da una gran variedad de colores y texturas. A pesar de ello el álbum tiene un punto de partida y un hilo conductor que se desarrolla sin ningún tipo de descoordinación y con una calidad musical que sorprende muy gratamente. MUY BUENO.
To celebrate their 30th anniversary, FreeWorld releases an excellent album recorded in the famous Ardent Studios in Memphis. FreeWorld is an essential attractive group of the entertaining Memphis scene, which have given them the opportunity of sharing the stage with such high quality artists like Levon Helm, Billy Preston, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Dr. John, James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughan, Susan Tedeschi and many more great ones. The age of the current eight band members ranges from 20 years of the youngest member to eighty-seven years of legendary sax player Dr. Herman Green (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Bob Weir…) The eleven songs included in the album reflect an interesting mixture of their many, varied and diverse influences ranging from Booker T. & the M.G.’s to John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and The Meters. All these and some more can be found in the recording, which gives the result of an amazing variety of colors and textures. Nevertheless, the album has a departure point and a thread that runs with a perfect coordination and an outstanding musical quality that will pleasantly surprise most listeners. GREAT.
Blues Bytes Review
The Memphis band FreeWorld recently celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2017, and also released their seventh album, What It Is (SwirlDisc), a sparkling eleven-song set with ten original tunes. The band’s influences are many, ranging from Tower of Power to Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Steely Dan, The Meters, The Grateful Dead, John Coltrane, and Frank Zappa, and these influences are easily heard throughout the disc.
The opening track, “Deeper By The Minute,” really sets the pace for the disc, seamlessly mixing funk and soul with rock n’ roll, fueled by those wonderful horns. The upbeat “Find A Better Way” is next, a bit more on the rock side of things with a muscular solo from guitarist Andy Tate, who really blows the doors off of the next track, the excellent soul-blues-rock blowout “Shrimp N’ Grits,” the first of four instrumentals on the disc.
“Dinja Babe” has a nice pop feel with tight vocal harmonies, and “It’s Alright” is a funk and soul nugget that surely would have been a hit back in the day when this kind of music saturated the radio. “For The Moment,” the second instrumental effectively leans toward the jazz side of the aisle, and the band does a wonderful job on the album’s lone cover, The Band’s “The Shape I’m In,” which is followed by another instrumental, the funky “Sideswiped.”
The rollicking “Another Sunday Night” really captures the band’s essence, as well as that of the city they call home. The album’s lone ballad is next, “Believe,” which features a guest appearance from vocalist Stephani McCoy, followed by the closer, “Eve Waits,” a highly creative instrumental foray into jazz that adds a few Eastern influences to the musical gumbo.
FreeWorld (Richard Cushing – bass/vocals, Dr. Herman Green – tenor sax, Peter Climie – tenor/baritone/alto sax, Andy Tate – guitars/sitar/glissintar/mandolin/dobro/cuatro/keys, Chris Stephenson – keys/vocals, Jared Dover – trumpet/percussion, Greg Lundy – drums/percussion, and Freedman Steorts – trombone) are pretty much a Bluff City institution by now, and show no signs of slowing their pace even after thirty years. What It Is is a marvelous musical journey that will satisfy all comers.
It ‘a beautiful design, which portrays Beale Street in Memphis after the rain, on the cover of this disc (… a David Lynch square). And a scansion of misunderstandings, the band is a large ensemble with wind instruments, of the famous musical capital of Tennessee. A gritty formation, which originates in this neighborhood, where the meeting between musicians is not only an attraction for tourists, but a strong reality that could have more or less lustra, depending on the ability of those who meets on the street: in the time of a song, or in what history then gives us, in the splendor of a music. That of Free World and a beautiful mixture of soul and rock’n’roll, which sees in the bassist Ri¬chard Cushing’s guide the weaving of the frames in which the many revolve, of a band that, save the resemblance of Cushing with a Jerry Garcia revived, and away from the arrows of psychedelic Dead and has his feet firmly on the ground, in the reality of a physical sound, direct, not prone to metaphysical abstractions or hallucinatory trips. The recording, which dates back to 2016, and instead a product of the famous Ardent Studios in Mem¬phis, where our home appear throughout a ride, if not here, and really less likely to happen again elsewhere. A crossroads and a laboratory, as this other Southern towns famo- not as if like the one that always will remain in eternal home of the King rock’n’¬roll. So, well attached to their context are then these “boys”, which in “What It Is”, of 2017, seem to transmit on the record the prestancy of a concert, in a dozen tracks that certainly do not skimp on consistent sound. , full bodied as the foam of an Irish stout. Festive sound, pregnant with funky, for almost an hour of music that for vivacity does not seem to find solutions of continuity, and reveals itself to art in congegnare the articulation of an album interspersed even by a trio of instrumentals (“Shrimp’n ‘ Grits “,” For The Moment “,” SideswF ped “) that touch hints of free & acid jazz to evoke acronyms from the Seventies series, ranging in the purest entertainment and rejoining the colorful jerseys of the lot: one way The other in a dF very expensive product of escape, which certainly also shows off the technology, but without ostentarlo, and returns with a sweet “Eve Waits” in closing, with hints of soundtrack. Note in style, even a version of “The Shape I’m In” Band: courtly quote, and passionate involvement with the old with the new to make the classic, what never sets. Gender, but very appreciable. ~Matteo Fratti
Last year, the band FreeWorld turned thirty years old. Despite such a long stage experience, it is not a matter of being known to a wider audience. After their latest CD has been explored, I think that it is definitely worth the effort and the creativity of the band. The album opens the world. A rich release with elements of soul, funk and jazz. Their 4-piece horn section sounds great, at the head of which is the 88-year-old tenor sax player Dr. Herman Green, who adds much character to the team. There are several compositions on the canvas in a similar style. It’s not all like the emotional mood of the ballad “Believe”, delicate and heartfelt, played with sensitivity and lightness. The charm adds a new piano accent, and the Lady-Japan duet adds to this amazingly successful personality. In the song “It’s Alright”, the influence of the Steely Dan band diminishes, and in the instrumental jazz-rock “For The Moment” you will notice the navigation to Blood, Sweat & Tears. To further emphasize the variability of the material, I will add that the band serves a wonderful blues (“Another Sunday Night”) and very melodic “Dinja Babe” decorated with great vocal harmony. There is only one cover on the disc. “The Shape I’m In” is a composition by Robbie Robertson known from The Band repertoire. The CD closes with the instrumental song “Eve Waits”, which is a show of guitarist Andy Tate (composer and performer). This multifactor song with elements of Indian music passing by is intriguing in itself, but it does not completely fit the overall climate of the disc. I think it would be better if it was clearly separated from the main part, as a bonus.
(Instrumental music publication)
THERE’S GOLD IN THEM THERE HILLS
(Prospecting for instrumental nuggets amongst recent vocal releases)
FreeWorld is a multigenerational band out of Memphis that plays in a variety of styles: rock, soul, jazz, blues and even a little reggae, which can all be heard on the six minutes plus of the instrumental “For The Moment” on their album “What It Is” (SwirlDisc SD 87625 445). Other vocal-less tracks on the same album are the tough, catchy, funk ‘n’ rock mash up of “Shrimp N’ Grits”, a romping “Sideswiped”, and the versatile closer “Eve Waits”, with its hints of psychedelia. (FreeWorldJams.com)
From The Bluff 2008-2010 Radio Airplay, Chart Info & Reviews:
KTUN The Eagle, Avon, CO
KAFM Grand Junction, CO
KUSP Santa Cruz, CA
KOWZ Owatonna, MN
WEVL Memphis. TN
WEGR Memphis, TN
WUMR Memphis, TN
KIOS Omaha, NE
KOWZ Rochester, MN
KTEP 88.5 FM – El Paso, TX
KALW 91.7 FM – San Francisco, CA
WQFS 90.9 FM – Greensboro, NC
WRHC 106.7 FM Three Oaks, MI
WFHB 91.3 FM – Bloomington, IN
WHUS 91.7 FM – UConn, Storrs, CT
KTUH 90.3 FM Honolulu, HI
KHEN “Sonic Gumbo” Salida, CO
WTUL.Radioactivity.fm 91.5 FM “Tastes Like Chicken” – New Orleans, LA
KKUP 91.5 FM – South Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, & Cupertino, CA
Saturday Morning Beach Party, WANS 1280 AM, Anderson, SC (BeachMusic45.com)
CHKT, Mississauga, ON – Canada
PBS 106.7 FM – Melbourne, Australia
VFM Radio 91.6 MHz – Vinkovci, Croatia
Rock Oko Radio Show 96.6 MHz – Krizevci, Croatia
“Sunday Night Soul” AM 1430 – Nova Scotia, Canada
“In a Mellow Tone” CKCU 93.1 FM – Ottawa, Canada (+ Online Internet Radio)
Radio Beton – France
Radio ISA – Lhuis, France
Beaub FM 89 – Limoges, France
Kaolin FM 88.4 – Correze, Dordogne, Haute-Vienne, France
RMJ FM 90.1 – Haute-Vienne, Indre, Vienne, France
Radio Vassiviere 88.6 FM – Haute-Vienne, Creuse, France
Radio Vassiviere 92.3 HTE – Correze, France
Bram FM98.3 – Tulle & Pays D’Egletons Correze, France
Radio Trouble Fete 95.4 – Limoges, France
Breniges FM 95.6 – Brive, France
RDL “The Gravelroad & Route66” – Colmar, France
Radio Plus – Poland
Radio eM 107.6 FM – Poland
Radio Em 88FM – Israel
BayFM 99.9 – Byron Bay, Australia
BBB FM, 89.1 – Tanunda, South Australia
4ZZZ, 102.1 FM – Brisbane, Australia
“Headless Chickens’”3 WAY F.M. – Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
“Salty Dog Blues N Roots” Podcast 85 – Melbourne, Australia
“Dave’s Blues Mix” STAR FM Radio, St. Helens, Tasmania, Australia. (Broadcasting on 93.7, 100.3 and
98.5 FM. Also streaming on the web.)
Salford City Radio 94.4 FM – Manchester, England (The Right Track Soul Show)
Radio Vilafant, 107.3 FM – Spain
“La Hora del Blues” FM 96.6 – Barcelona, Spain
AllMemphisMusic.com (Online Internet Radio)
Honest Tunes Radio Webcast
Grateful Dead Hour #1062 + Dead to the World 12/24/08 (David Gans’ Terrestrial & Online GD Radio Shows)
XMU Sirius/XM Radio RADAR Report
Beale Street Caravan (Internationally Syndicated Radio) – Memphis
Skybird Radio Podcast (REM.FM)
Surfinbird Radio (Online Internet Radio) – France
Sweet Home Chicago (“SHC: Le Podcast”) Blues@Radio666.com – France
Virus de Blues (le petit fanzine militant) 101.1 FM – France
Radio Kanal Ratte “Bluescorner” www.kanalrattefm.de/bluescorner – Germany
Livestream at: http://www.kanal-ratte.de/page,Empfang/uid,0/sid,1180887880
Radio Bremen “Nordwest Radio; Blues night 10” – Gremany
Livestream at: www.radiobremen.de/nordwestradio/sendungen/blues_nach_10
Radio Paradise (Online Internet Radio)
Access Sacramento “Semi-Twang” (Online Internet Radio)
WildmanSteve Radio (Online Internet Radio)
Rock ‘n’ Blues Today – Radiorcc.com (Online Internet Radio Station) – Italy
Radio Gold Popular Network – Italy
Summit Radio (Online Internet Radio Station) – England
Popart Pluto (Online Internet Radio & Podcast) – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Desde La Torre www.radiogualeguay.com.ar link LT 38 Radio Gualeguay – Argentina
South Australian Roots & Blues (“Blues Time” Podcast #85)
Thacker Mountain Radio
Yellowstone Public Radio (ypradio.org)
FreeWorld has been an independent, regionally touring, ever-evolving Memphis-based musical ensemble since 1987. Drawing from influences as broad-based as Booker T. & the MG’s, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and The Meters, these brothers under one multicultural groove have remained a consistently entertaining and informed voice on the Memphis music scene since the group’s inception.
Featuring 78-year-old jazz saxophone legend Herman Green (who has performed &/or recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Stephen Perkins and a host of others during his 63 year professional music career), FreeWorld is literally ‘new school meets old school’, and has been variously described as “The best of Memphis, New Orleans, & San Francisco – all rolled into one fresh & excitingly unique musical experience!”
They’ve also had the privilege of sharing the stage with a wide variety of music legends over the years, such as Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Billy Preston, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Merl Saunders, Dr. John, Timothy Leary, John Sinclair, The Bar-Kays, Ann Peebles, Steve Cropper, James Cotton, Mojo Buford, Jimmie Vaughan & Double Trouble, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, and Widespread Panic just to name a few.
“From the Bluff “, their 5th full length CD, was produced by none other than Memphis music icon Jim Dickinson – who has produced, performed and/or recorded with some of the most influential and successful recording artists of all time, including Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Arlo Guthrie, The Replacements, Big Star, and Ry Cooder among MANY others.
Recorded & mixed at his Zebra Ranch Studio in Coldwater, Mississippi, “From the Bluff ” prominently features musical contributions from many special guest artists such as Luther Dickinson (lead guitarist for both The Black Crowes & North Mississippi Allstars), Cody Dickinson (drummer for North Mississippi Allstars), and “East Memphis Slim” on keyboards, as well as a host of other Memphis music luminaries including Nokie Taylor (STAX Records recording legend), Art Edmaiston (MOFRO & The Gamble Brothers Band), Hope Clayburn (Deep Banana Blackout & The Dynamites), Rick Steff (Lucero & Dexy’s Midnight Runners), Jackie Johnson (Aaron Neville & Cat Power), and The Masqueraders & James Govan (Beale Street performing stalwarts).
The songs on “From the Bluff ” are exceptionally well-written (primarily composed by various combinations of the core songwriting team of bassist/vocalist/lyricist Richard Cushing, drummer/lyricist David Skypeck, guitarist Brian Overstreet, and trumpeter/vocalist/lyricist E.J. Dyce), with the lyrical content ranging from light-hearted, observational “slices of life” to deeper philosophical musings, while the music remains true to the oft-touted FreeWorld standards of superb musicianship, tight arrangements and a wide-ranging stylistic and instrumental prowess.
“From the Bluff ” is undoubtedly FreeWorld’s best and finest recording to date, and again proves the age-old adage: Great music, played from the heart, never goes out of style!
In addition, “From the Bluff ” also proudly features original paintings on both the front & back covers (and on the CD itself) by prominent Memphis-based artists David Lynch & Lamar Sorrento.
Richard Cushing (FreeWorld promotional material)
Dave Rubin, staff writer Guitar Edge Magazine:
The blues, R&B and gospel music born and nurtured on the sweltering plantations, jukes and churches in the rural South, and then celebrated in the teeming urban centers, is the most deeply soulful, exuberant and vital ever created. Together the fundamental genres created an exceptional musical heritage unique to the United States, while providing the perfect melting pot for white and black Southerners to come together musically.
FreeWorld from Memphis has brought that tradition up to date while adding a huge helping of booty-shaking funk, the energy of jam band rock and the improvisational sophistication of jazz for the exultant From the Bluff, their fifth release. Formed in 1987 by renowned veteran tenor saxophonist Dr. Herman Green after being approached by singer/bassist Richard Cushing and trumpeter Willie Waldman, this freewheeling aggregate has had literally dozens of esteemed members over the years. The current lineup of Cushing (band leader, lead and backing vocals, bass, and sitar), Green (tenor sax), David Skypeck (drums), Brian Overstreet (guitars), E.J. Dyce (lead and backing vocals, trumpet) and Captain Phil McGee (alto and tenor sax) is a powerful engine that pulls the big train carrying numerous heavyweight guest artists on the eleven original tracks, produced with consummate taste by the legendary Jim Dickinson.
“Keep Smilin’” sets the vibe with a surging, horn-driven soul beat featuring Overstreet’s snarling solo and Cushing’s churchy exhortation to keep doing what the title preaches. “Give It Back,” however, plates FreeWorld’s funk cred with a stone groove that would have made JB himself shout, “Good Gawd!” Cushing then shifts gears with ease to a solid Memphis soul strut in the anthemic “Time on the Mountain” that is his sly tribute to the lyrics of the Grateful Dead. Guest soul singer Harold “Sundance” Thomas extols the timeless tranquility to be found through communing with the Mississippi River as it rolls past the heart of downtown Memphis in “Down on the Bluff” over an arrangement that The Band would have admired in the 60s. Young hotshot Luther Dickinson, brother of fellow North Mississippi Allstar Cody (electric washboard on “Spartacus”) and son of Jim, provides slinky slide guitar.
“Samurai” is an instrumental jam with a sensuous, insinuating funk beat and hip horn chart that reminds one of a more relaxed and elastic Tower of Power as tenor sax man Art Edmaiston, trumpeter Dyce, and Cushing on bass punctuate the undulating groove with taut, succinct solos. More funk in “Spinning Around” allows singer E.J. Dyce to tell the story in song of FreeWorld coming together as Green cuts loose for a brief foray that flirts with Coltrane, while Overstreet floors it with a nasty, overdriven solo. The combustible lead guitarist keeps “Monkey Suit” on a fast boil with hot-comped wah-wah and a pyrotechnical, psychedelic fusion solo as drummer Skypeck, who, along with 5-string bassist Cushing, is an unstoppable rhythm machine throughout the disc. Overstreet gets to roar modally over the spooky minor key bayou rock of “Simmer Down” while Dyce passionately makes his case against violent actions.
“Not Alone” brings the intensity level down dynamically with a plea for community and a dreamy, melancholy vibe in the interlude for Overstreet to conjure David Gilmour, with Cushing answering on sitar. Unabashedly psychedelic with a “Bitches Brew” bent, the spacey instrumental “Spartacus” finds Green clearing a path with his “free jazz” explorations followed by Overstreet imagining how Hendrix would have played in the Mahavishnu Orchestra. The bonus track “Save Our Soul” is a hefty slice of classic Memphis soul with guest vocalist James Govan that brings it all “back home” for the “band of brothers” by paying tribute to the soul music heritage of their fair city.
A year after marking its 20th anniversary, Memphis’ FreeWorld proves not just its resilience but its vibrancy on a fifth full-length CD, “From the Bluff”, which hits stores this week. Produced by Jim Dickinson, the disc is a horn-driven soul-rock collection featuring guest appearances by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and Beale Street soul stalwart James Govan among others. FreeWorld commemorates the release with a packed week of performances, including pre- and post-Widespread Panic shows Wednesday. First up are three weekend shows, starting with tonight’s show at Newby’s and continuing Saturday at the Brookhaven Pub (695 W. Brookhaven Circle) and Sunday at Blues City Cafe (138 Beale).
FREEWORLD CD-RELEASE PARTY AT NEWBY’S
For more than 20 years, this Memphis club staple has mixed Southern soul and jam-band rock with jazz flourishes (and jazz chops), but the new “From the Bluff” is probably this quintessential live band’s best studio effort. Produced by area icon Jim Dickinson at his Zebra Ranch Studio, the album features guest work from North Mississippi Allstars Luther and Cody Dickinson, sax ace Art Edmaiston, and vocalist Jackie Johnson, among others, but the ever-versatile sextet themselves stay at the center on a collection built almost entirely on original songs. The opening “Keep Smilin'” is sunny, catchy riff-based rock that demonstrates the band’s ability to rein it in for a classic-style three-and-a-half-minute rock single. “Give It Back” boasts Crescent City rhythms underneath some Steely Dan-esque songcraft. “Down on the Bluff” and “Save Our Soul” are thematic bursts of laid-back Memphis Soul. The instrumental “Spartacus” is a flight of jazz-rock experimentation. The official CD-release party for “From the Bluff” takes place Friday, October 10th, at Newby’s. The show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $5 or free with purchase of CD. FreeWorld will continue to celebrate their new record with a couple of other shows this weekend. They play the Brookhaven Pub on Saturday, with a 10 p.m. start time. They finish up with their weekly gig at Blues City Cafe on Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
FROM THE BLUFF
When our house band and our house artist join forces to produce a work of art encased in a work of art, we have to brag a little.
The venerable band FreeWorld (at left), two decades old and blowing strong, releases its fifth full-length CD, “From the Bluff”, produced by Memphis music icon Jim Dickinson and featuring musical contributions from the likes of Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, Nokie Taylor, The Masqueraders, James Govan, and Art Edmaiston from the Gamble Brothers Band.
The CD’s front cover – and the CD itself – features two original paintings by Memphis artist David Lynch, whose commissioned work graces the cover of the Downtowner magazine’s 17th anniversary issue in February, 2008. Lynch paints in a bright, modern impressionistic style using primarily oils and acrylics. The CD’s cover is “Sunset at Harber Town,” and the CD itself is “Blues City Cafe,” two of Lynch’s “Memphis series” of paintings that capture iconic city shots such as the FedExForum, Paebody Memphis, and Madison Avenue.
The CD’s lyrical content ranges from light-hearted, observational slices of life to deep philosophical musings, while the music remains true to the oft-touted FreeWorld standards of superb musicianship. FreeWorld’s best and finest recording to date again proves the age-old adage: Great music, played from the heart, never goes out of style.
“From the Bluff” makes its official debut Oct. 10, 10pm-2am, at Newby’s, 539 S. Highland. For more information, call 452-8408 or visit FreeWorldJams.com and DavidLynchArt.com.
Some comment/feedback from KOWZ guy in Owatonna, MN.:
Now that we are out of festival season up here, we may add a few CD reviews in upcoming issues, so there is always hope. My favorite tracks include ‘Give It Back’, got a sweet funk to it. I love the change up about .58 secs in when the horns switch from a James Brown vibe to a Chicago Transit thing for the refrain. ‘Down On The Bluff’ has a Band sort of groove that hooks into sweet slide that reminds me of our local slide legend, Paul Mayasich. ‘Monkey Suit’ really kicks. Again the horns have a Chicago feel. My top track was ‘Save Our Soul’; gritty, sweet and flowing (got the most comments from my small focus group). -John
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Some Memphis Soul from ‘FreeWorld’
I hope you all had a bluesworthy weekend. I didn’t get to all of the shows I wanted to see, but that’s pretty much the way it is. I think it was Mick Jagger and Stones who brought us that existential lament, “You can’t always
get what you want.” As usual, however, BlueNotes is open 24/7 for comments and notes on local shows.
Meanwhile, there are a few new CDs in the pile worth a thought or two, and maybe a listen from you.
Have you ever heard of FreeWorld? I hadn’t either, but there are a lot of fine regional bands around getting more publicity these days, through CD releases, festivals and blues competitions. And we’re all the better for it.
Back to FreeWorld. FreeWorld is a Memphis jam band, with roots in R&B, soul and blues, and one that you’ve probably never heard of, but if you get a chance the band is worth a listen. It’s not a new group — it goes back to
1987, and their new CD, “From the Bluff,” is their fifth. One of the bands founders is sax legend Herman Green, a 78-year jazz and blues vet whose 63-year career lends history and musicality to this tight and funky group.
The band explores a variety of Memphis grooves, kicked along by tough horns, sharp guitar work, and gritty vocals from some unusual suspects. A rough-voiced James Govan brings back sweet soul memories on “Save Our Soul”
and Harold “Sundance” Thomas lends passionate pipes to the gently rolling, sensuously swinging “Down on the Bluff.” Another noteworthy track is the hard-charging opener, “Keep Smiling,” which just rolls over you with a driving beat and a happy message.
The band members here all deserve a mention — Richard Cushing, Herman Green, David Skypeck, Brian Overstreet, E.J. Dyce, Phil McGee — there are no real stars, they are all stars, a group of multi-talented musicians pumping out music with passion and enthusiasm. What more can you ask?
The Huntsville Times
Thursday, October 16, 2008
‘New school meets old school’ at Humphrey’s Bar & Grill
FreeWorld, called by some “the tightest jam band in Memphis,” will be celebrating the release of its new CD, “From the Bluff,” Friday night at Humphrey’s Bar & Grill downtown on Washington Street.
Featuring 78-year-old jazz saxophone legend Herman Green – who has performed or recorded with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton and others during his 63-year career – the group is “new school meets old school.” It has been described as “the best of Memphis, New Orleans and San Francisco, all rolled into one fresh and excitingly unique musical experience.”
Performing since 1987, the band draws from influences as broad-based as Booker T & the MGs, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and The Meters.
The band has shared the stage with performers such as Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Billy Preston, Richie Havens, Blues Traveler, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Dr. John, The Bar-Kays, Jonny Lang and Widespread Panic.
“From the Bluff” features musical contributions from guest artists such as Luther Dickinson (lead guitarist for The Black Crowes and North Mississippi Allstars), Cody Dickinson (drummer for North Mississippi Allstars) and “East Memphis Slim.”
From a radio station in Poland…
Tank you for sending me the FreeWorld CD, it has reached me today.
The day was dark and rainy today but this music on “From The Bluff” is so sunny and positive, I love it. It sounds like The North Mississippi Allstars jamming with James Brown’s band, quite unique. With all those flavors of
Southern music mixed together, blues and soul and jam band, FreeWorld has found their own sound. I can’t wait to play it.
Thanks again for keeping me in mind when it comes to new releases Betsie. I hope all is well on your end.
PD (website: www.blues.pl/draheim)
Some airplay news coming your way. Last Friday I have featured CDs that I consider some of the best self-released albums of 2008. FreeWorld’s new CD was one of them. The feature was a long one, about 20 minutes of music, I have closed the show with it. Great tunes plus those guest-starring soul singers are fantastic, especially James Govan.
As always the show is available on-line. To listen to the show with FreeWorld’s music on it simply go to http://blues.pl/draheim/?s=archives – the last show is the one I’m talking about. Just click on the date, then press play and listen.
Have a great week Bets. Best wishes,
FREEWORLD/From the Bluff: Memphis’ under the radar jam band is still going strong over 20 years and they still sound like a bunch of white boys taking over Stax after hours. With Jim Dickinson at the helm and a bunch of contemporary southern jam band lads dropping by, this comes across as a frat boy extravaganza that should be played at all gatherings where white boys do the white boy dance. Fun stuff that rolls along merrily.
Thacker Mountain Radio Newsletter
FREEWORLD has rocked the Mid-South for over 20 years with their unique brand of soul/funk-reggae/jam, all with a Memphis beat. The band’s fifth CD, From the Bluff, has just been released and was produced by Master Thacker Bushwhacker, Jim Dickinson. The Memphis Flyer says, “FreeWorld is basically a live animal with a multi-cultural groove that is consistently entertaining. The band stages a musical conversation that they share with the audience.” (www.freeworldjams.com)
Previews & Reviews | Music
BLUES AND MORE: FreeWorld: Powerful creativity out of Memphis
by George Fish
October 19, 2008
From the Bluff
Swirldisc SD 78453 630
Memphis six-man band FreeWorld’s fifth CD, From the Bluff, is a delightful admixture of influences: horn-driven soul/funk rhythms, modern jazz, Frank Zappa cacophonic sound mixtures and 1960s to early 1970s rock, with powerful sound lyrics that are both streetwise and philosophical, in the best of the San Francisco hippie tradition.
FreeWorld was founded in 1987, when its bassist/lead and backing singer, Richard Cushing, approached legendary Memphis jazz saxman Dr. Herman Green about forming a band. Now 78, Green had played and recorded with the likes of B.B. King, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, John Coltrane, Clark Terry, Bob Weir and many others in a 63-year career.
Now consisting, in addition to bandleaders Green and Cushing, of David Skypeck, drums; Brian Overstreet, guitars; E.J. Dyce, trumpet, lead and backing vocals; and Captain Phil McGee, alto and tenor saxes, FreeWorld is a creatively eclectic band that readily combines Memphis soul/funk with bebop and avant-garde jazz, with a powerful dose of 1960s-early 1970s rock and a delightful dollop of Frank Zappa.
But it does more than just combine influences — it melds them into a distinctive sound where all the elements flow together in one dynamic stream of engaging sound, with the solid songs and instrumentals on this CD all written (except for one) or co-written by band members Cushing, Overstreet, Skypeck and Dyce.
My last “Blues and More” talked of the various strains within contemporary blues, particularly blues-rock as exemplified in Cincinnati’s Kelly Richey. But of course R&B and soul also influenced and developed the blues, and jazz styles and jazz-rock fusion also had their say.
FreeWorld is an excellent example of how those latter influences came into play and produced in FreeWorld a potent brew that combines the soul/funk underpinnings of Memphis R&B with the soaring flights of musical experiment that characterize modern jazz. The result, in From the Bluff, is a listener’s delight.
Joining FreeWorld on this CD are many special guests, who will be discussed in terms of their musical appearances. They combine with FreeWorld’s core to produce a truly extensive, full-throated sound that really opens up the musical possibilities.
FreeWorld commands the opening three tracks pretty much by itself, with the addition of East Memphis Slim on keys and the dynamic gospel shouts of backing singer Jackie Johnson.
These first three tracks, “Keep Smilin’,” “Give It Back” and “Time On The Mountain,” are very much in the horn-driven Memphis soul/funk groove, but already in Dr. Herman Green’s sax solo on the second track, “Give It Back,” branching into a bebop sound that nicely blends traditional soul playing with jazz elements. “Keep Smilin’” and “Time On The Mountain” are philosophical songs about finding peace with oneself, with “Time On The Mountain” more pensive than “Keep Smilin’,” while “Give It Back” devotes itself to assertively holding on in a rough, rough world.
The fourth track, “Down On The Bluff,” is another pensive song on finding peace, placed squarely in its Memphis setting, with lead vocals by Harold “Sundance” Thomas and moody slide guitar from Luther Dickinson, guitarist with the Black Crowes and the North Mississippi Allstars.
The musical shape takes a noticeably different direction, directly into modern jazz, in the next two cuts, the instrumental “Samurai” and the autobiographical song on the band’s origins and history, “Spinning Around.” But both are still built around the Memphis soul/funk rhythmic core, even as they lay on this foundation an edifice of atonality structured from modern jazz. Art Edmaiston, whose baritone sax has already been felt, lays down a jazzy tenor sax solo, as does FreeWorld trumpeter E.J. Dyce. Herman Green articulates a gritty bass vocal line, “I can do that, ’cause I’m the man!” to “Spinning Around.”
“Monkey Suit,” a philosophical funk treatment on survival and compromise in the business world, is an exploration into jazzy funk and funky rock, with a cacophonic Frank Zappa-like instrumental break with Stax Records maestro William “Nokie” Taylor’s talking trumpet joining merrily in with the babble.
The eighth cut, “Simmer Down,” is another philosophical song about not blowing one’s cool that is notably built around a pure funk groove. “Not Alone” continues with the streetwise philosophy in a more lyrical way, with Richard Thomas’s cello at the beginning, and later, with Richard Cushing on sitar. “Spartacus” is another Memphis soul-funk/jazz instrumental that starts out with horns and percussion from the electric washboard of North Mississippi Allstars’ drummer Cody Dickinson and others, and ends with stunningly distorted guitar work from Brian Overstreet.
The bonus 11th track, “Save Our Soul”, is straight-ahead Memphis classic gospel soul number in tribute to the genre, with James Govan handling the gritty vocal chores with an aplomb that combines Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding echoes, along with the sax of Hope Clayburn, the trumpet of Steve Dolan and the Hammond B-3 organ of Rick Steff.
There’s truly stinging guitar throughout from FreeWorld’s Brian Overstreet, who elegantly burns with wah-wah and other special effects, jazz, acoustic and electric rock and soul playing. He’s unafraid to approach the unconventional, to extend to the limit the potentialities of his axe, on which he demonstrates thoroughly dedicated mastery.
The backing vocals of Jackie Johnson, Robert “Tex” Wrightsill and the band members Cushing and Dyce provide some positive harmonic underpinnings as well. Another area of mastery here is in the song endings — sometimes just sudden drop-dead, sometimes extended mini-symphonies of codas, but never quite what one expects.
FreeWorld and friends have a demonstrated magnificence throughout From the Bluff, a magnificence that flows easily throughout, and one that readily combines elements from an extensive array of genres to produce a sound that, while unashamed to echo the past masters, still possesses its own unique approach.
From the Bluff was produced by iconic Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, who’s previously recorded Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave, Arlo Guthrie and others, and is also graced on the front and back covers and on the CD itself with original artwork from Memphis artists David Lynch and Lamar Sorrento, thus making it a visual as well as an aural treat — one that’s already become one of this writer’s favorite CDs for 2008.
George Fish can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much pour send envoi group FreeWorld, c ‘est Very very Good Funky Music, Wonder album de Funky Music!
Jean Louis Poirier / émission Du Blues Sinon Rien sur Radio BETON
Site internet Radio en DIRECT: www.radiobeton.com
Membre du Collectif des radios Blues: www.radiosblues.com
Thanks for the new music you sent me. FreeWorld doesn’t fit my format as well as some of your artists. I only found one song to be aired – the bonus track, Save Our Soul. It will be on the air from next Thursday. It doesn’t mean it is not a good band, it is just a question of format…
Mike Penard (He has a show called American Roots Music on ISA Radio in France.)
c/o ISA Radio
Just a quick line to thank you very much for sending the FreeWorld album. Very enjoyable and one I’m sure my listeners will enjoy too. I really like all the tracks, with the exception of the instrumental “Samurai” which is a bit too jazzy for my taste. Nevertheless, it’ll get airplay, I can assure you.
Today I have receive FreeWorld CD. I will play it soon on my radio show.
All the best from Italy.
Umbertide (PG), Italy
*FreeWorld – From The Bluff – Swirldisc SD 78453 630
Soms bewaar je een plaat voor maar één nummer. Zo’n nummer staat op de cd
van FreeWorld, From The Bluff. Het nummer, Down On The Bluff, gaat over een
plek bij de Mississippi (het lijkt wel of liedjes over de Mississippi altijd
goed zijn) dat begint als een langzaam soulnummer, en dat lekker loom
doorgaat, met een trage maar rauwe gitaarsolo, lekkere blazers, een gedreven
zanger, een fraaie slidegitaar die het nummer verder helpt en een band die
helemaal in de groove hangt. Magnifiek.
Helaas weten de mannen van FreeWorld, een band die al ruim twintig jaar
bestaat, dit niet de hele plaat lang vol te houden. Ze maken zeer prima rock
met blazers, wat rockender dan Blood Sweat en Tears, wat jazzier dan
Southside Johnny, maar wat minder geïnspireerd dan deze beide acts. Behalve
dat ene prachtnummer dan, want dat is echt een juweeltje.
Producer Jim Dickinson weet de band wel mooi het ruwe randje mee te geven
dat voor dit soort muziek onontbeerlijk is, en meestal wordt er ook wel
lekker gespeeld, maar door dat ene nummer lijkt de rest middelmatiger dan
het wellicht is. Maar goed, een band moet feitelijk beoordeeld worden op hun
beste werk, en dat is in dit geval een topper.
Sometimes you save a CD just for one track. This track is on the CD, FreeWorld – From The Bluff. The song “Down On The Bluff”, is about a place on the Mississippi River (it seems that songs about the Mississippi are always good), that begins as a slow soul song with a slow but raw guitar solo, a driven singer, a beautiful slide guitar which helps further the track, and a band that is totally in the groove. Magnificent.
Unfortunately, as the men of FreeWorld must know, (a band that has been around for more than twenty years), this doesn’t sustain throughout the entire CD. They make very fine rock with blazing solos, rock harder than Blood, Sweat and Tears, and are jazzier than Southside Johnny, but seem less inspired than those two acts – except for that one beautiful song, because that really is a gem.
Producer Jim Dickinson knows the band very well. The raw edge to this type of music is indispensable, (and usually it is also played very well), but that seems to be their primary focus more than the rest probably is. Anyway, a band must actually be judged on their best work, and in this case it is a winner.
I have received the latest music from you and again I am amazed at the release. You certainly have a fine ear when you decide whom to represent. This new “FreeWorld CD – From The Bluff” is just superb. Not full of histrionics and over the top guitar riffs but straight ahead refined quality. I have played it on air and received a very good response from the listeners, now to keep the air-time I have allocated the CD to our premier Blues show “Roots Of Rhythm” with Helen Jennings, (22 years with this show on air), Wednesday morning, (Helen does her show prior to mine), 9am to 11am. Here at PBS the Roots music category is our most popular and strongest as far as members are concerned. In Melbourne we put to air more Blues than any station and as such the very large Blues community look to us for their music.
You will notice that the music has primarily gone to Wednesday shows. This is because that from 9am to 5pm every Wednesday the whole block of hours are dedicated to Blues/Roots music and in fact it is the strongest group of shows on our grid. Bruce Iglaur said that the people of Melbourne are spoiled by having all of these shows plus the others spread around our grid. High praise, and one we are proud of. The music you send us is getting plenty of air-time and would you please pass on our congratulations to the manager of FreeWorld on our behalf. Obviously times will and are tough at present right around the world, many people scared and unsure but at least there is good music to be heard. As always Betsie, thank-you for this absolutely incredible support, you truly are a very special person indeed.
The Phantom Tollbooth
3.5 stars (out of 5)
Soul, funk, jazz. That pretty much sums up what you need to know about the Memphis-based jam-band known as FreeWorld. While it’s no surprise to hear about a funk and soul oriented band coming out of Memphis, it is a surprise to hear one that stands out from the rest of the pack, which this ensemble of seasoned, talented players does – the fact that they’ve done a cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” (not on the current project) tells you that these guys aren’t afraid to step out of their genre-box to pull a few surprises out of the hat. From the Bluff is the current CD, which features eleven tracks that stylistically cover everything from New Orleans to Motown, mixing a tasty blend of funk and soul with healthy doses of jazz, and even a tip of the hat to Frank Zappa along the way.
The ‘meat’ of From the Bluff is really found between the first and last tracks: the former, “Keep Smilin,’” being a friendly, horn-driven tune with an optimistic, non-threatening message and the latter, “Save Our Soul,” actually listed as a ‘bonus track,’ being a musical cousin to Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper’s iconic “In the Midnight Hour.” It’s on the second track, “Give it Back,” that the funk really gets thick, with tight, punchy horn parts, percolating bass and guitar, and some classic-soul organ sounds. The sax and guitar solos on this track have just the right amount of jazz technique mixed with generous amounts of emotional fire. This song sets up the rest of the album, which is quite strong on many levels, only missing the mark occasionally on the vocals (I can imagine what Delaney Bramlett would do on some of these tracks) and a couple of song choices. Produced by Memphis stalwart Jim Dickinson, the sound is fresh and energetic – with no place for the solos to hide, even featuring a full, rich live horn sound.
The group has had a variety of members through the years, and is currently down to a core group consisting of singer/bassist Richard Cushing, co-founder and tenor sax player Dr. Herman Green, drummer David Skypeck, guitarist Brian Overstreet, trumpet player/vocalist E. J. Dyce, and alto/tenor sax player Captain Phil McGee. Any band with a Doctor and a Captain among the personnel is something to contend with, and these guys do mean business, although there’s a definite sense of fun about the album. As a matter of fact, the only time the band seems to get into uncomfortable territory is when the lyrics get a little too philosophical or introspective, like on “Time on the Mountain,” a song that sounds somewhat like something from Clapton’s post-Delaney & Bonnie pop period, and “Not Alone,” with its somewhat preachy tone, ineffective vocal and late-sixties ambiance: the song is redeemed, though, by a nice, jazzy middle section featuring enough tasty trumpet and guitar soloing to make me even forget the sitar(!) that found its way into the piece. The album’s biggest mis-step, though, is followed by one of its highlights – “Spartacus” is an outstanding jazz/funk barn-burner that showcases the instrumental prowess of the band. This track, along with “Samurai,” shows these guys at full-tilt, sounding like Tower of Power-meets-The Brecker Brothers-meets-Zappa and The Mothers. Some nasty stuff there, and by that I mean make-ugly-faces-while-you-listen jamming – this is some hard-core playing.
The instrumental work on From the Bluff is so good that it points out the occasional weakness in the vocal department, making me look forward to the instrumental sections all the more. I’d certainly welcome an all-instrumental album by these musicians, whose writing seems to lean more towards the jazzy side of things. The writing, by the way, is shared by Cushing, Skypeck, Overstreet and Dyce, and they certainly know how to construct a strong piece of music. Even when FreeWorld gets into more conventional soul/pop territory the result is good, but more nostalgic than creative. The ensemble work and the instrumental soloing is where it’s at for this band. From the Bluff’s got the real stuff when these guys jam, and that’s something you just can’t bluff.
Becky Russell Review:
Wow! Okay, so it is so weird that I can hear the sound of Jim’s barn just like on our record but it sounds “right” on your CD too!!!! hahahaha! I love that place.
So….I LOVE y’all’s CD! Lordy Richard, could y’all be any tighter? How you guys can be so outside the lines and so familiar and soulful at the same time is amazing. I reckon that IS the FreeWorld sound.
My FAV is MONKEY SUIT!!!!! Yes!!!!!!! Tell IT! You smoked that song. Also, SAMURAI…that track is immaculate. The melody is sublime dude. AND KEEP SMILIN’ is sooo you!!! Harold singing on Down on the Bluff is beautiful. I think you should send that cut to Bill Wax/ Bluesville, on XM. If I know him like I think I do, he would love that song!
Anyway, GUSH GUSH……this CD is the bomb. I kinda wish I had smoked a fatty before Spartacus though! hahahaha!
Keep it up man, FREEWORLD the most original sound in Memphis as far as I am concerned. Thanks for giving me a copy!
As ever your pal,
Ross Rice Review:
Good news: “From The Bluff” don’t suck! Gave me a nice feeling of Sunday night at Blues City that I realize I’ve been missing for some time now. Y’all crushed “Monkey Suit”, as I knew you would… technically, it’s more a FreeWorld tune than Human Radio, y’all (well, “we-all”) had it first! The band’s playing great, good tunes, hot solos. Big Kudos to Jim and Kevin… it’s fun hearing Jim keybing on FreeWorld, sounds like he’s enjoying himself! Mixes have nice space, not squashed to shit like many modern productions are. Great cameo work…Luther especially….and it’s nice to see things are patched up w/ Art. Damn, you even managed to get the sitar on! Wonders never cease.
Yeah, I love it up here, in spite of the economic downturn….but I really do miss my Memphis peeps, and the rich musicality down in that crazy town. Good to see FW still motoring, not coasting. Now get that shit outta town sometime and hit the North! Folks love hippie jazz/R&B up here… there’s some lame ass shit here y’all could be whuppin’ on Southern Style, trust me.
Pass on some big love to the Boyz, and a hug for Lori K…
John Lind’s Critique:
Yo my brotha, Since you keep sending me reviews, I assume you’d like my $0.02 worth?
Strong Groove (almost Pop)
Nice, rich, horn arrangement
Good instrument tones over-all (that goes for the whole album, btw)
Vocal good, your voice is getting thicker and it suits you.
Harmonies are good too. E.J. & Jackie’s voices fit yours well.
Lyric is positive and catchy, always good.
Give It Back:
Nice, sparse, funky horn line and guitar.
Very strong harmonies
Catchy and humorous lyric
The outro commentary is priceless.
Time on the Mountain:
Good groove, just a little too fast
Solid all the way through (the t-wah guitar is reigned in enough to NOT sound smarmy)
I wasn’t sure the lyric would work, to be honest, but it totally does. You don’t have to know the ‘Dead connection for the it be coherent on it’s own. I’ll be surprised to see how many reviews you get that catch the source.
(The Bloomington guy didn’t seem to.)
Down on the Bluff:
Good groove (again)
Nice, classic sounding arrangement
Sweet, gooey, slide work.
Harold’s voice – Sorry. It just doesn’t work for me, especially his falsetto.
If you didn’t want to sing it, I’d have gone with James again.
Niiiice head. Chuck told me that Lori was invoking Steely Dan to describe the tracks and this is the give away.
Everybody is doing a good job of weaving their parts around each other rather than stepping on each toes or churning along all in one motion. Does that make sense? Too many instrumentals (in general) do that way too much anymore. I miss hearing Art play with y’all. He sounds really good here.
Almost dirty funk – very nice
As much as I want to like the lyric, being part of the fambly and all, it just doesn’t really work for me. It sounds a little too ‘talent show’. I hear what y’all are doing with the “spinning” harmonies in the chorus but it gives the impression, aurally, of winding-down to a stop. Not what you were going for, I’d hazard. Another straight HIGH harmony (or an ascending line) for everyone else to “Spin” around would work better, I think.
How can you go wrong?
LOVE the fill-out on the horn arrangement
Of course I get the vocal fumble in the bridge, but it sounds like a screw-up if you haven’t heard the ‘Radio album.
This one is just kind of there for me. Not bad, not great. Maybe with more time…(so it’ll probably chart!)
‘Bout damn time.
Good arrangement. The cello gives a nice, rich, round tone to the whole thing.
I kept expecting to hear Nokie’s air-raid gag in the bridge. E.J.’s part seems to be a bit of a nod to that I’m guessing
I particularly like the group arrangement between the solos and the last verse.
Can you record and album where NONE of the songs start with “S”? I mean, damn.
That aside… Nice, slithery, funky groove, almost sticky.
Good, strong, CATCHY head
Clean sax solo.
Brian’s solo – goes without saying but daymn
Cool, complimentary, percussion.
Save Our Soul:
Glad to hear this on here. It’s just as good as last time. 😉
Music Review: FreeWorld – “From The Bluff”
Written by Richard Marcus <email@example.com>
Published October 30, 2008
My one claim to fame as a kid in the early seventies was that my aunt’s boyfriend was in the band Lighthouse. As that very rarely impressed anyone my age, most kids were into the Partridge Family or at best The Beatles, the information that he played electric viola in a rock and roll band meant that sort of knowing the late Don Dinovo never really bought me that much status. It wasn’t his fault, or Lighthouse’s either for that matter, for although the band did enjoy moderate success with hits such as “Sunny Days”, they were never that popular among the pre-pubescent crowd.
Aside from their associations with my vain attempts at reflected fame, Lighthouse will always stand out in my memories as being the first rock and roll band I knew who used instruments I had only ever associated with orchestras before. In their hey-day they not only had the standard compliment of guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards they also featured a horn and a string section. In many ways they were probably the first fusion band that I knew of, but even more importantly they broadened my perspective as to what popular music could be. It was through Lighthouse that I discovered my appreciation for funk, R&B, and soul.
Of course the first time I saw footage of James Brown, Sly And The Family Stone, George Clinton, or any of the other great soul and funk performers, I was knocked out. The energy, the power, the sex – no wonder they never played that stuff on am radio stations in “Toronto The Good” in the early seventies. (Toronto, Ontario was referred to as “Toronto The Good” for the longest time due to the province of Ontario’s absurd liqueur licensing laws, which made it almost impossible to be served alcohol on a Sunday.) In fact, to this day you can still only buy alcohol in either an officially designated beer store or a wine and spirits store. The consequences would have been too sever to contemplate – a whole generation of White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPS) might have grown with a sense of rhythm, and that just wouldn’t have done.
Since those early funk and soul deprived days, I’ve spent many a fruitless hour listening to music that people were passing off as R&B, soul, or funk and being gravely disappointed with what I heard. Instead of horn sections that exploded or who could blow soft and sultry, there was a mishmash of pathetic strings that was supposed to send my heart soaring and the sound of something occasionally bleating in the background that could have been horns. So listening to FreeWorld’s, a band I’ve never heard of, new disc, “From The Bluff”, distributed by Select-O-Hits, wasn’t a step I took lightly. Their promotional material promising music that combined funk, R&B, and soul with “the energy of jam band rock and the improvisational sophistication of jazz” strained at the limits of what I could believe. I’ve heard way to much middle of the road dreck be referred to as “soulful” for me to have much hope that this disc would be any different from countless previous letdowns.
The last thing that I expected was to be blown out of my seat from the first track on the disc. “Keep Smilin'” opens with a driving electric guitar and expands to include an incredibly exuberant horn section that proceeds to kick out the jams for the rest of the song. I was still reeling from that when “Give It Back” slunk into my headphones. You’ve heard of “walking bass” I suppose? This track has a slinking bass line that sets the tone for the whole song as it shimmies and shakes through and around the rest of the instruments for the whole song.
The core group of FreeWorld is only six guys, but somehow they manage to sound a lot bigger than two saxophones, trumpet, guitar, bass and drums should. Sure on some of the songs they’re joined by special guests, but they are only rounding out what is already there. It doesn’t hurt that on tenor saxophone Dr. Herman Green brings over sixty years of playing experience with him, including time with everybody from John Coltrane and Miles Davis to Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), but it takes more than one man to make a band and each of them (Richard Cushing vocals, bass, and sitar; David Skypeck drums; Brian Overstreet guitar; E.J. Dyce vocals and trumpet; and Captain Phil McGee alto and tenor saxophone) plays with enthusiasm and a skill level that you don’t normally find outside of jazz bands.
The other thing about these guys you have to know is that ten of the eleven songs on “From The Bluff” were written by the band. That isn’t something I’ve come to expect from most R&B and funk bands today. Hell, how often do you turn over any of these recordings being churned out by the hit machine and see the majority of the music written by the person whose album it supposedly is? Never to hardly ever just about covers it.
These guys not only write the majority of their material, they seem to be able to write whatever they want. For as well as the funk and rock stuff mentioned above, the song “Down On The Bluff” is a great gospel style number in praise of the Mississippi River, (featuring a great guest vocal by Harold “Sundance” Thomas and slide guitar by Luther Dickinson of the Black Crowes). The track that follows right after it, “Samurai”, features some great jazz style soloing over a long and easy funk beat, and features Art Edmaiston adding some extra depth with his tenor and baritone saxophones.
It’s no wonder that these guys, FreeWorld, have shared the stage with everyone from Levon Helm to Dr. John. I don’t think I’ve heard another group of musicians who I could honestly say sound like they’d be equally at home in either The Band, Parliament, or Weather Report. Sometimes people deride those who are multitalented with sneering comments like “jack-of-all trades but master of none”. Well, I don’t think anyone would even dare to say something like that about FreeWorld. No matter what they set their minds to playing on “From The Bluff”, it sounds like they were born playing that genre.
Many years ago when I first heard the band Lighthouse, I loved the sound of horns playing with the elements you’d normally find in a rock band. Little did I know how rare it was going to be to find a popular music band that would have the same quality of sound as Lighthouse. Obviously FreeWorld don’t sound the same as Lighthouse, (although if they added a string section I bet they’d do a fine job on “One Fine Morning”) but what they have in common is the ability to incorporate a multitude of styles into their sound and turn it into something that’s uniquely their own. Once you hear FreeWorld for the first time you’ll not be able to forget them, and I bet you’ll be able to recognize them the next time you hear them playing.
FreeWorld – “From the Bluff”
SwirlDisc – SD 78453 630
The Memphis-based musical ensemble FreeWorld have been strutting their stuff for over 21 years now. Having played with several legends over the years, the band, whose horn section includes jazz sax legend Herman Green, have just released their fifth CD. Produced by Jim Dickinson, it also features guest slots by sons Luther and Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars.
FreeWorld establish their Memphis soul/R&B credentials on the opener, “Keep Smilin'”. The sound is a well-balanced mix of horns, guitar, bass and drums, with Richard Cushing’s fine vocals topping it all off. The band then kick into the funky horn-dominated groove of “Give It Back”. The band seamlessly mix in elements of funk and jazz, and it all sounds equally good. This includes the autobiographical “Spinning Around” which tells the tale of how the band got started after meeting up with Green. The band eventually round things off in style with the excellent “Save
Our Soul” where the band recapture the spirit of Wilson Pickett and then some.
FreeWorld are a class act, and “From the Bluff” shows that Memphis soul is still very much alive and well. Definitely worth a listen.
Blues in Britain
FROM THE BLUFF
Well, as usual, our friends across the wide Mississippi have come up with a rocking and jazzy compilation of tunes. FreeWorld is Richard Cushing on vocals, bass, sitar, and who knows what else, Doctor Herman Green on tenor sax (and one vocal), David Skypeck on drums, Brian Overstreet on guitars, E.J. Dyce on vocals, trumpet, and maracas, and Captain Phil McGee on alto and tenor sax. Plus there are a slew of guest musicians. It all adds up to a most interesting musical adventure. One may write Post Office Box 820149, Memphis TN 38182-0149 for booking info, or e-mail info@FreeWorldJams.com
4 stars (out of 5)
Album From The Bluff benda FreeWorld u moje je ruke dosˇao posrednisˇtvom radijske promotorice Betsie Brown i njezinog Blind Raccoona. Album je pocˇetkom ove godine objavila izdavacˇka kuc´a iz Memphisa Swirldisc.
Vec´ doista dugo nisam cˇuo ovako glazbeno ‘sˇirok’ album. Ovaj odlicˇni band snimao je album From The Bluff od studenog prosˇle godine do sijecˇnja 2008.godine. Nakon toga uslijedile su promotivne akcije da sˇto visˇe ljubitelja dobre glazbe poslusˇa ovaj album. Osobno, izuzetno sam zadovoljan, kada se promovira ovako dobar album.
FreeWorld je band koji svoju glazbu gradi na najboljem naslje?u kako bluesa, tako i rocka, free-jazza, R&B, funkyja, soula i gospela. Ako i sami znamo da je sva glazbena tradicija Amerike nastala na plantazˇama i u crkvama na ruralnom jugu Amerike, onda se dogodilo da je silom prilike glazba isˇla sve dalje i dalje. Ta i takva glazba svoj put je trazˇila u gradovima, u kojima su nastali novi momenti, jer trebalo je svu tu vrlo osobnu i osjec´ajnu glazbu prezentirati populaciji koja basˇ i nije bila sklona svoj toj ‘vrazˇjoj glazbi’. Put ka afirmaciji bio je trnovit i mukotrpan, no prije svega, crna, a potom i bijela mladezˇ, usvajala je ono sˇto su voljeli i bez obzira na sve zabrane, ignoriranja i sl. uspjeli su tu i takvu glazbu putem odre?enih radijskih DJ-a plasirati sˇiroj publici diljem Amerike. Ovo je sam jedan mali dio pricˇe oko nastanka r’n’r-a, koji sam iskoristio da bih Vas uveo u odlicˇan album From The Bluff benda koji se zove FreeWorld.
Ovaj album je njihov peti album po redu, a band je 1987. godine osnovao saksafonist dr. Herman Green. A pored njega u bandu djeluju josˇ: Richard Cushing – vokali i bas gitara, David Skypeck -bubnjevi , Brian Overstreet – gitare, E.J. Dyce – vokali, truba, te Captain Phil McGhee alt i tenor sax.
Za ovaj zadnji studijski album angazˇirali su zaista puno specijalnih gostiju kao sˇto su: Luther Dickinson (slide gitara), Cody Dickinson, East Memphis Slim – klavijature, Art Edmaiston– tenor i bariton sax, William ‘ Nokie’ Taylor– truba, Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas – vokali, Robert ‘Tex’ Wrightsil – back vokali, Jackie Johnson – back vokali i Richard Thomas – cˇelo. No, da bi sve bilo potpuno, red je da navedem josˇ cˇetiri glazbenika a to su: James Govan, Rick Steff, Steve Dolan i Hope Clayburn. Svi oni zajedno doprinijeli su da ovaj album zvucˇi tako opusˇtajuc´e, da se kroz kompozicije provlacˇi ona poznata jam-session furka, koja iz teme u temu sve visˇe i jacˇe i znacˇajnije dolazi do izrazˇaja. Band FreeWorld u svakoj kompoziciji ima drugacˇije aranzˇmane, tematiku i glazbeni stil. Band izuzetnom lakoc´om provlacˇi sve svoje glazbene ideje kroz skladbe i sa svakom novom temom dolazi neki novi sudar razlicˇitih glazbenih stilova.
U nekada toliko potrebnom ‘breaku’ od bluesa, ovaj album dozˇivio sam na zaista vrlo poseban i nadasve kvalitetan nacˇin. FreeWorld svojim su albumom From The Bluff donijeli jednu toliko potrebnu svjezˇinu na onaj dio rock scene koju predstavljamo kao afirmativnu i u kojoj bandovi nisu toliko poznati i priznati, barem ovdje kod nas.
Dugo vremena vec´ nisam cˇuo ovakav album, koji nije blues, a da mi toliko pasˇe svojom strukturom i nadasve svojim sadrzˇajem. Svi Vi koji nemate nekakvih ograda i predrasuda, potrazˇite ovaj odlicˇan album i budite uvjereni da se nec´ete razocˇarati i da c´ete svakako pronac´i nesˇto za sebe. Osobno, vec´ nakon petog preslusˇavanja potpuno sam se opustio i nasˇao sam ono sˇto mi je uvijek trebalo, odmor, break od bluesa, a onda mu se josˇ jacˇe i strastvenije vrac´am. No, do tada u mojim ure?ajima svira odlicˇni album From The Bluff josˇ boljeg benda FreeWorld. Obavezno potrazˇite ovaj album i uvjerite se i sami. Najbolje pjesme su : Keep Smilin, Give It Back, Time On The Mountain, Down On The Bluff, Samurai , Spinning Around , Monkey Suit, Simmer Down, Not Alone, Spartacus, a tu je i Bonus Track: Save Our Soul i gle cˇuda … nabrojio sam sve pjesme. Da, zaista ne mogu izostaviti niti jednu skladbu, svaka je dobra na svoj nacˇin. Idemo ispocˇetka, groovin’, jamming, funky & soul …ma odlicˇno!
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From The Bluff
In my hand came posrednisˇtvom radio promoter Betsie Brown and the Blind Raccoon. The album is the beginning of this year announced the publishing house from Memphis SwirlDisc. For a really long time, I have not heard music
like this ‘wide’ album. This great band recorded the album From The Bluff since November last year to January 2008. After that, followed by promotional actions that the more good music lovers hear this album. Personally, I am very
satisfied, when promotes album. FreeWorld such a good band is that this music builds on the heritage as the best blues, and rock, free jazz, R&B, funk, soul and gospel. If you know that all American musical tradition was built on
plantation churches in the rural south of America, it happened that the opportunity to force all the music went on and on. For such music, and this way is sought in the cities in which they arise a new kind, as should all of this is very personal and feeling music for the present population, and that just was not inclined that the ‘vrazˇjoj music’. Route to recognition was thorny and hard-laboring, but first of all, black, and then white youngsters, usually is what they like and regardless of any ban, ignoring and so managed, and there are such music via certain radio DJ’s through to the wider audiences throughout America. This is itself a small part of the story about the formation of Rock-N-Roll, which I used to like you introduced in the excellent album From The Bluff by the band FreeWorld. The band was formed in 1987, and this album is their fifth album in a row. Established by saxophonist Dr. Herman Green, the band also includes ‘Richard Cushing – Vocals and bass guitar, David Skypeck-drums, Brian Overstreet – guitars, EJ Dyce – Vocals, trumpet, and Captain Phil McGee alto and tenor sax.
For this last studio album there are also a lot of special guests such as Luther Dickinson (slide guitar), Cody Dickinson, East Memphis Slim – keyboards, Art Edmaiston-tenor and baritone sax, William ‘Nokie’ Taylor -trumpet, Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas – Vocals, Robert ‘Tex’ Wrightsil – backing Vocals, Jackie Johnson – backing Vocals and Richard Thomas – cello, plus James Govan, Rick Steff, Steve Dolan and Hope Clayburn. All of them together have contributed to this album sounds so relaxing, that is, in the compositions provlacˇi it known yam-session furka, that the themes in the topic more and more and come up with meaningful expression. FreeWorld band in every composition utilizes different arrangements, topics and musical styles. Band extraordinary ease provlacˇi all these musical ideas through compositions and with each new theme comes a new clash of different musical styles.
The once so necessary ‘break’ the blues, this album I have experienced the really very special and excellent quality nacˇin. FreeWorld their album From The Bluff made a much needed freshness on the part of the rock scene as an affirmative, in which bands are not so well known and recognized, at least here at nas. Dugo time, but I have not heard this album, which is not blues, and that fits me so much with its structure and above all its content. All of you who do not have negative fence and prejudice, find this a great album and be assured that you will not be disappointed, and you’ll definitely find something for yourself. Personally, but after the fifth crosstalk completely I opustio and I found what I was always supposed, rest, break from the blues, and then had more and
strastvenije kindred. But, by then in my devices playing great album From The Bluff even better band FreeWorld. Be sure to visit this album and see for yourself. The best songs are: Keep Smilin’, Give It Back, Time On The Mountain, Down On The Bluff, Samurai, Spinning Around, Monkey Suit, Simmer Down, Not Alone, Spartacus, and there is a Bonus Track: Save Our Soul and behold, miracles … I nabrojio all songs. Yes, I really can not leave out any one track, each good in its own way. Here we go again, groovin ‘, jamming, funky & soul … ma great!
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FreeWorld Set to play Dave’s, Unveil Newest Album
Issue date: 11/14/08 Section: Entertainment
Memphis Jam Band FreeWorld Visits Dave’s Tavern Tonight.
Veteran Memphis band FreeWorld will celebrate the release of its newest album at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern tonight at 10 p.m.
The band members have been playing together for over two decades. The new album, entitled “From the Bluff”, is the band’s fifth album. “We celebrated our our 21st anniversary this past October. So yeah, we’ve been around a long time,” Cushing said.
FreeWorld founding member Richard Cushing said Dave’s has been the band’s second home for years and owner Dave Hood is a close friend of his. “Dave is like my brother and The Tavern is like my living room. That’s why the release party is there. It rules, it just rules,” Cushing said.
The six core members of the band are bassist, lead vocalist and lyricist Cushing, drummer and lyricist David Skypeck, guitarist Brian Overstreet, trumpeter, vocalist and lyricist E.J. Dyce, alto and tenor saxophonist ‘Captain’ Phil McGee and 78-year-old legendary jazz saxophonist Dr. Herman Green.
Hood said FreeWorld is known for its impressive shows. “They get such a positive response whenever they perform at The Tavern. They have such a good connection and relationship with the crowd. Richard is a great musician. He’s a Renaissance man,” Hood said.
FreeWorld was founded in 1987 by Cushing, when he approached Green and asked him to help form a new band. “[Green] is the heart and soul of the band. He is our Founding Father. Having him in the band gives us instant credibility,” Cushing said. Green has been playing for over 60 years and has played with some of music’s greatest such as B.B. King, Miles Davis, Clark Terry, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. “[Green] is unbelievable, probably the best musician that’s ever played at The Tavern,” Hood said.
The band’s music does not fit into one genre of music. “We play everything: jazz, blues, rock, soul and reggae,” Cushing said. “If there were a genre of ‘whatever’, then that’s where we would be,” he said. “We always try to stay true to ourselves. We all have different backgrounds in music, so we each bring a certain style of music and writing to the band.”
Cushing said FreeWorld is always in transition and has had a diverse array of members. “The good thing about having so many people coming in and leaving is that when they do leave, it’s often on good terms so they can always come back and sit in with the band at any time in the future” he said. “That’s why our name suits us because we’ve had many different races and ethnicities in the band over the years. We are very broad in scope.”
The band is inspired by groups such as Parliament Funkadelic, Steely Dan and Weather Report and legends such as Frank Zappa and The Grateful Dead, as well as other Memphis bands, Cushing said. “We are rooted in Memphis, so of course we’re fans of other Memphis bands, both old and new. We always take a piece of Beale Street with us everywhere we go,” Cushing said.
Unplanned and impromptu performances are also commonplace at FreeWorld shows, he said. “Neither we nor our fans know exactly what’s going to happen at any performance. Old members might show up, jump on stage and play with us, and sometimes we just segue from song to song all night long,” Cushing said.
MSU alumna Laura Fortgang has seen the band perform many times in Starkville and Memphis. She said the band is exciting to watch perform because it keeps the crowd dancing and smiling. “They stand out because they are such a down-to-earth band. They feel like family to me. If I could tell the band one thing, it would be to keep smiling,” Fortgang said.
The release party will be $5 at the door or no cover charge if attendees purchase a $10 copy of the band’s new album.
Title: From the Bluff
Label: Swirldisc SD 78453 630
For more information, go to: www.FreeWorldJams.com
Just from hearing the opening number, an insistent, pulsating horn and guitar driven sixties styled soul stomper, you feel like you have been completely blown away like some dust encrusted cobweb.
The other ten compositions are band written, highly original and totally mesmerising; each consecutive number merely increases the intensity of mood and emotion felt by the band.
FreeWorld began life in 1987 in Memphis; Created by the veteran and now seventy-eight year old tenor saxophonist Dr. Herman Green, with the aim of creating an all inclusive sound which was to reflect the influences of places such as Memphis, New Orleans and other areas that also have the same freewheeling ethos; places such as that multi-cultural musical hot-bed, San Francisco.
This horn driven band sometimes becomes more of an ensemble due in part to the large and varied number of guest musicians who have appeared at one time or another in the past either live onstage or on a recording.
As it is the case on this, their fifth album. the core band members are; Richard Cushing, lead vocals, bass, sitar and shaker; Dr. Herman Green, tenor saxophone; David Skypeck, drums; E.J. Dyce, trumpet and maracas; Captain Phil McGee, alto, and tenor saxophone. The guest contributions on the album are by; Luther Dickinson, slide guitar; Cody Dickinson, electric washboard; East Memphis Slim, keyboards; Art Edmaiston, tenor and baritone saxophone; William ‘Nokie’ Taylor, trumpet; Richard Thomas, cello; Rick Steff, Hammond B3; Steve Dolan, trumpet; Hope Clayburn, alto and baritone saxophone. Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas and James Govan also provide guest lead vocals.
The music which bursts out from the speakers blasting its way forward like a supercharged screaming steamroller, encompasses the hard strutting funk of the seventies combined with sweat stained, searing urban Jazz infused compact guitar work that is very reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield.
The horn section, which is led by the marvelous seventy-eight year old Dr. Green, is just simply relentless, and the range of styles moves smoothly from urban, sweetly soft soul into Tower of Power and Weather Report without missing a beat.
At various points on the album you are reminded of those wonderful intense and roaring film scores that were composed for the Blaxploitation films of the Seventies.
A stunning and mind blowing album!
Uit de Blind Racoon stal komt de volgende schijf waar ik zeer kort en bonding over zal zijn.
Deze mannen zetten een sfeer neer ala The band, Meters, funky stuff, en veel New Orleans genot. Need i say more, dit is een top-album met heel veel variatie van een aantal meer dan goede muzikanten, die het vooral verdienen om
meer bekendheid te verwerven, en dat betekent dat U gewoon in grote getale dit album moet aanschaffen. Zeer geschikt voor Uw eigen gemoedsrust, feesten, depressies, uitzinnigheid en meer hiervan. Het eerst enummer “Keep
Smiling” laat meteen al zien met wat voor mensen we te maken hebben-hele lekkere rock-invloeden, om vervolgens de rest van het album alleen maar zeer aangenaam verrast te worden. Nogmaals Freeworld is een ervaring die je niet snel doet vergeten. Je hebt het al door, ik laat verder niets los over de muzikanten, omdat het er heel veel zijn en vooral door U zelf gehoord moeten worden, Denk Neville Brothers, the Band, Meters en je wordt er heel blij
(Frank van engelen)
From the Blind Raccoon stole the next disk comes where I very and order thing concerning will be. These men put down an environment ala The Band, Meters, funky stuff, and much New Orleans joy. Need I say more, these are top-album with a lot of variation of a number more than good bandsmen, which especially deserving more acquire reputation, and that means that YOU must buy this album simply in large getale. Very arranged for your own repose, festivals, depressions, uitzinnigheid and more of this. First song Keep Smiling let straight away to try with what kind of people we hebben-hele nice make rock influences, it to surprise vervolgens the rest of the album only very agreeably. Once again FreeWorld are an experience which you do not do forget rapidly. You have it already, I let through further nothing separately concerning the bandsmen, because it as lot of have been especially heard and
by YOU yourself must become, think Neville Brothers, The Band, Meters and you become gladly of it complete. – Enjoy! (Frank of angels)
A review from www.bluesinthenorthwest.com
“From The Bluff”
(Swirldisc – SD 78453 630)
Here’s another treat, courtesy of Betsie Brown at Blind Raccoon in Memphis – the fifth full-length release from the city’s FreeWorld – described as “new school meets old school” and “the best of Memphis, New Orleans and San Francisco – all rolled into one fresh and excitingly unique musical experience!” In layman’s terms a most appealing mix of jazz, funk and rock, all beautifully played, recorded and produced.
The band have been evolving since 1987 and the current core is: Richard Cushing (lead & backing vocals, bass, sitar, shaker), Dr. Herman Green (tenor saxophone and vocal), David Skypeck (drums), Brian Overstreet (guitars), E. J. Dyce (lead and backing vocals, trumpet, maracas) and Captain Phil McGee (alto and tenor saxophone) – together with a host of special guests, most noticeably producer Jim Dickinson’s sons, the North Mississippi Allstars Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson.
The uptempo, sunny “Keep Smilin’” opens proceedings, with punchy horns and great solo from Brian Overstreet, whose guitar is very impressive throughout; followed by a dip into James Brown funk territory on “Give It Back”. The gently rocking “Time On The Mountain” follows, again great horns and another to feature the guitar of Overstreet – a new name to me, but a truly great player.
The title cut “Down On The Buff” sees a guest vocal from the soulful Harold “Sundance” Thomas – as the band extol the Mississippi river as it rolls through their home town – nice slide guitar here from Luther Dickinson. The instrumental “Samurai” rides along on a nice funky, jazzy groove, with lovely saxophone solo from Art Edmaiston.
The 78 year old jazz saxophone legend, Dr. Herman Green – who has performed and recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, BB King and Lionel Hampton, to name but a few – gets the spotlight on “Spinning Around”, as E.J. Dyce tells the story of the FreeWorld from 1987 in song, with a tenor saxophone solo that dips into Coltrane territory – very fine indeed!
Overstreet catches fire again on “Monkey Suit” with some revved up wah-wah work, while the swampy rock of “Simmer Down” sees the band in a Louisiana groove – that almost could be Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Tony Joe White – and yet another killer guitar solo.
This fine release – beautifully produced by aforementioned Memphis legend Jim Dickinson – ends with the bonus cut of “Save Our Soul” – a horn-driven Memphis soul number, with another guest vocal, this time from the great James Govan – a fitting tribute to the soul heritage of the city of Memphis – it even sounds as if it could have been cut 40 years ago!
Recorded material-wise, I have enjoyed a lot of stuff this year. Without one
particular CD jumping out at me, here’s my top ten, in no particular order:
- The Cadillac Kings – Trouble In Store
- Sean Costello – We Can Get Together
- Moreland & Arbuckle – 1861
- Chris Bergson Band – Fall Changes
- FreeWorld – From the Bluff
- JW Jones – Bluelisted
- Various, including Big Walter Horton – Bocce Boogie
- GravelRoad – Shot The Devil
- The City Shakers – The Very Best Of
- Jason Ricci & New Blood – Rocket No. 9
ROOTSVILLE CD REVIEW by witteMVS
From The Bluff
“…fuses a mojo mix of rock, soul, jazz, reggae, blues, and psychedelic music… a sound that is as unique and diversified as each of its members.”
FreeWorld, een steeds wisselend collectief van muzikanten rond de harde kern Cushing/Green/Skypeck/Overstreet/Dyce en McGee, neemt het niet zo nauw met de stijlgrenzen zoals die werden uitgezet door de muzikale separatisten. Bij Freeworld geloven ze in de integratie van verschillende genres zonder onderscheid van origine of moeilijkheidsgraad of wat dan ook. Zelfs een poppy deuntje kan bij hen amnestie krijgen.
Het resultaat van deze ingesteldheid werd breed uitgesmeerd op hun nieuwste, en onderhand vijfde, CD. De mengelmoes van stijlen kan eerst wat vreemd overkomen, maar naargelang je jezelf onderdompelt in hun muziek en je je hun visie enigszins eigen maakt, wordt alles ineens klaar als pompwater. Het resultaat zou men simpelweg jazz kunnen noemen. Maar, foei, we zijn weer in onze ouwe gewoonten van -in vakjes steken- vervallen. Echter, als je jazz beschouwt als een verzamelnaam voor muzikale onderstromen die op één of andere manier wars zijn van al te makkelijk in het oor liggende niemendalletjes, dan kan het weer wel. Het kind moet immers een naam hebben om het te kunnen aanhalen.
“Keep Smilin’” geeft van bij het begin de drive aan die door de ganse CD leeft en met stuwende blazersriffs zitten we middenin die zuiderse swampige soul beat. In “Give It Back” voert een funkgroove het nummer naar gezellige hoogten, waarna de Memphis soul van “Time On The Mountain” op een laidback popdeun gaat gelijken. De tredmatige chung-da, chung-da wordt opgefleurd door Brian Overstreet’s wah-gitaar. Cushing zingt de Grateful Dead-lyrics met heilige overtuiging.
“Down On The Bluff” is als soulnummer dan veel beter gediend van de vocals van Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas. Ze illustreren perfect de lyrics over de Mississippi die traag doch krachtig en breed door Memphis snijdt. Een prachtig arrangement geeft dit nummer nog een meerwaarde. En ‘on top of this’ krijgen we nog eens het prachtige slide-gitaarwerk van gastarbeider Luther Dickinson.
De elastische Tower of Power sound in het instrumentale “Samurai” wordt voortgebracht door het vaste blazersgezelschap van de band met ondulerende bassbewegingen van Richard Cushing. De trompetsolo is van E.J. Dyce, de tenorsax solo is van Art Edmaiston. Zes minuten mooie blazerij die doen denken aan de Jazz Crusaders.
Nog meer soulfunk in “Spinning Around”. Trompettist Dyce zingt op Zappaiaanse wijze de story van Greenworld en Dr. Herman Green plakt hier een tenorsax solo tegenaan als ware hij John Coltrane in hoogsteigen persoon. Straffe gast. Overstreet brengt ons met een zware overdrive gitaar terug naar deze zijde van de funkstraat.
In “Monkey Suit” trekt Overstreet nog meer laken naar zich toe met zijn hyperkinetische chunk-funk overdriven gitaar en pyrotechnisch-psychedelische solo in de jungle van apeland. Een supersnelle solo die Van Halen achter zich laat. Dit alles stevig ritmisch onderbouwd door superdrummer David Skypeck en bassist-bandleader Richard Cushing.
Nog meer van Overstreet’s, ditmaal donkere, gitaarwerk zit er in “Simmer Down” een rock die net lijkt opgerezen uit de bayou. Een dorische gitaarsolo glijdt als een roofzuchtige alligator door de vettige wateren tussen de mangroves.
“Not Alone” is dan weer heel andere koek. Een etherisch geval, een kwetsbare stem en een akoestische ‘José Feliciano’ gitaar, begeleid door de cello van Richard Thomas in de lange intro, gaat over in een Gilmouresque gitaarsolo in een Yes-achtig muzikaal klimaat, door Cushing’s sitar en een mijmerende trompet van Dyce helemaal in de psychedelische sferen gekatapulteerd.
In het instrumentale “Spartacus” mag de achtenzeventig jarige Dr. Herman Green zijn ding doen op de saxofoon. In de liner notes van de CD worden parallellen getrokken met Miles Davis’ meesterwerk “Biches Brew”. Daar kan ik mij bij aansluiten. Green leeft zich helemaal in in de rol van Miles, zij het op saxofoon in plaats van trompet. En Overstreet gaat Mahavishnu John McLaughlin achterna. Green sluit af met een sax-fiff over een batterij octavers. Schoon.
De bonustrack “Save Our Soul” is een Stax-soul oefening. Een pamflet als het ware voor het behoud van de originele rhythm ‘n’ blues. James Govan neemt hier de lead vocals waar, met een stem die ons met weemoed aan Otis Redding herinnert. De B-3 is van Rick Steff en Steve Dolan en Hope Clayburn blazen respectievelijk op de trompet en de saxofoons. Real soulmusic.
Dit is één van de meest veelzijdige platen die ik de laatste tijd hoorde, gebracht door rasmuzikanten die een heel scala aan stijlen samensmelten tot …simpelweg GOEIE MUZIEK. Moet beluisterd worden met kritisch oor en zal niet door uw mand vallen.
De naam van de band is niet zomaar een lukraak gekozen titel, maar een statement : Free World ook voor de beoefening van de muziek. Ik sta er achter en ga nu op zoek naar hun vroegere werk. Dada.
The band is:
- Richard Cushing : lead & backing vocals, fretted & fretless bass, sitar, shaker
- Dr. Herman Green : tenor saxophone, lead vocal on “I’m the Man”
- David Skypeck : drums
- Brian Overstreet : guitars
- E.J. Dyce : lead & backing vocals, trumpet, maracas
- Captain Phil McGee : alto & tenor saxophone
Special guests :
- Luther Dickinson : slide guitar on “Down on the Bluff”
- Cody Dickinson : electric washboard on “Spartacus”
- East Memphis Slim : keyboards
- Art Edmaiston : tenor & baritone saxophone, solo on “Samurai”, cowbells
- William ‘Nokie’ Taylor : ‘talking’ trumpet on “Monkey Suit”
- Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas : lead vocal on “Down on the Bluff”, backing vocals
- Robert ‘Tex’ Wrightsil : backing vocals
- Jackie Johnson : backing vocals
- Richard Thomas : cello on “Not Alone”
- James Govan : lead vocal on “Save Our Soul”
- Rick Steff : Hammond B-3 on “Save Our Soul”
- Steve Dolan : trumpet & backing vocals on “Save Our Soul”
- Hope Clayburn : alto & baritone saxophone, backing vocals on “Save Our Soul”
FreeWorld, an always changing collective of bandsmen around the core, does not take Cushing/Green/Skypeck/Overstreet/Dyce and McGee this way narrow with the style borders such as that was turned off by the musical separatists. FreeWorld believes in the integration of several genres without distinction of origin or level of difficulty or whatever. Even poppy tune can them get amnesty.
The result of this attitude was widely spread out their newest, and fifth, CD. The hodgepodge of styles is possible firstly what strangely to happen, but as immerses himself you in their music and you their vision slightly own makes oneself, becomes everything all of a sudden ready as pump water. The result one simply jazz is able call. But, foei, we are in our ouwe habits of – expired in boxes putting. However, if you consider jazz as a verzamelnaam for musical undercurrents which are in one or other manner true of already too easy in the ear located niemendalletjes, then are possible it. The child must be able quote it a name has to.
“Keep Smilin'” indicates of at the beginning the drive which lives by the entire CD and with driving blazersriffs we sit in the middle of that southern swampige soul music beat. In “Give It Back” funkgroove conduct the number to sociable altitudes, whereupon the Memphis soul music of “Time On The Mountain” on laidback headstock tune will resemble. Tredmatige chung-da, chung-da are cheered eup Brian Overstreet wah-gitaar. Cushing sing the Grateful Dead-lyrics with saint conviction.
“Down On The Bluff” as a soul music number then the much have been served better of vocal of Harold `Sundance’ Thomas. They illustrate perfectly the lyrics concerning the Mississippi which slowly yet by Memphis cuts strongly and widely. A splendid arrangement gives still an appreciation to this number. And `on top or this’ get we once more splendid slide-gitaarwerk of guest worker the Luther Dickinson.
The elastic Tower or Power sound in the instrumental “Samurai” are produced by the fixed fumarole companionship of the link with ondulerende bass movements of Richard Cushing. The trumpet solo are of E.J. Dyce, the tenorsax solo are of Art Edmaiston. Six minutes beautiful blazerij which do think Crusaders of the jazz.
Soulfunk still more in “Spinning Around”. Trumpeter Dyce sings in Zappaiaanse a manner the story van Greenworld and Dr. Herman Green sticks here tenor sax solo against as if were he John Coltrane in hoogsteigen person. Straffe guest. Overstreet bring back with a heavy overdrive jet ear us to this side of the funkstraat.
In “Monkey Suit” Overstreet draw Laeken still more to itself with its hyperkinetic chunk-funk overdrives jet ear and pyrotechnical-psyhedelic solo in the jungle of apeland. A high-speed solo which obtains of behind itself late. All this firmly rhythmically founded super drummer David Skypeck and bassist-bandleader Richard Cushing.
Still more of Overstreet, this time dark, jet ear work sits there in “Simmer Down” a rock which seems net risen from the bayou. Doric gitaarsolo slide as a rapacious alligator by the greasy water between the mangroves.
“Not Alone” are then very other wafer. An ethereal case, a vulnerable voice and acoustic `José Feliciano’ jet ear, accompanied by the cello of Richard Thomas in long intro, continues in Gilmouresque gitaarsolo in Yes-achtig a musical climate, Cushing sitar and a musing trumpet of Dyce entirely in psyhedelic environments gekatapulteerd.
In the instrumental “Spartacus” the seventy-eight people whose birthday it is Dr. Herman can be do Green thing on the saxophone. In the liner notes of the CD parallellen are drawn with Miles Davis’ master work “Bitches Brew”. There I can dovetail myself. Green imagines oneself itself entirely in the role of Miles, they it on saxophone instead of trumpet. And Overstreet follow Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Green concludes with sax-riff concerning a battery octavers. Clean.
The bonus track “Save Our Soul” music is Stax-soul an exercise. A leaflet as it were for the conservation of the original rhythm `n’ blues. James Govan observe here the lead vocal, with a voice which us remind rescue with melancholy to Otis. B-3 is of Rick Steff, and Steve Dolan and Hope Clayburn blos on the trumpet and the saxophones respectively. Real soul music.
This is one of the most multi-purpose CDs which I heard the last time, race bandsmen brought which amalgamate a complete scale to styles to… simply GOEIE MUSIC. Must be listened to with critical ear and by your basket will fall. The name of the link has not been zomaar chosen haphazard a title, but a statement: Free World also for the beoefening of music. I stand and go now in search of their former work. Dada.
FreeWorld – From The Bluff (SwirlDisc)
FreeWorld existieren bereits seit 1987 und sind seitdem besonders im Großraum ihrer Heimat Memphis, Tennessee, USA, live unterwegs. Doch der Eindruck einer strikten Live-Band stimmt natürlich nur zum Teil, denn das vorliegende Album “From The Bluff“ ist ihr fünftes Studio-Album und zeigt, was es mit FreeWorld auf sich hat.
Alles dreht sich um handgemachten Rhythm and Blues, um Blues und um Rock-Elemente, um die Energie von Funk und Spielfreude. So ist unter anderem der 78-jährige Saxofonist Herman Green ein Teil der Band, die sich immer wieder mal nach Tower Of Power, dann wieder nach Eric Clapton, in anderen Momenten nach B.B. King oder gar der Folk-Magie eines Willie Nelson anhört.
Dass die Band aber auch den Funk hat, zeigen Songs wie “Samurai“, der besonders durch die schnittigen Bläsersätze überzeugt. Titel wie “Spinning Around“ liebäugeln neben erwähnten Funk aber auch mit harmonischen Jazz-Elementen, die ebenfalls immer mal wieder durch den üppigen Klangteppich wummern.
“From The Bluff“ mag vielen vielleicht eine Spur zu verspielt, zu kratzig, sein, stilistisch zu unausgewogen. Was es ganz sicher aber nicht ist, ist langweilig. Denn die elf Titel sind eine wahre Vitamintablette und haben als Nebenwirkungen Funk, Rhythm and Blues und waschechten Southern Folkrock im Gepäck.
© Oliver Gross
FreeWorld exist already since 1987 and are since then particularly in the region of its homeland Memphis, Tennessee, the USA, live on the way. But the impression strict Live volume is correct naturally only partially, because the available album “From The Bluff “is its fifth studio album and shows, what has it with FreeWorld on itself.
Everything turns around handmade Rhythm and Blues, around Blues and around skirt elements, around the energy of radio and play joy. So among other things the 78-year-old saxophonist Herman Green is a part that volume, which sounds itself again and again times after Tower of Power, then again after Eric Clapton, in other moments after B.B. King or the folk magic of a Willie Nelson.
The fact that those has volume in addition, the radio shows song like “Samurai “, which particularly convinces by the schnittigen Bläsersätze. Titles like “Spinning Around” liebäugeln apart from mentioned radio in addition, with harmonious jazz elements, likewise always times again by the sumptuous sound carpet wummern.
“From The Bluff “ likes many perhaps a trace too playful, too kratzig, it’s stylistically too unbalanced. Which it is completely surely however not, is boring. Because the eleven titles are a true vitamin tablet and have as side effects radio, Rhythm and Blues and washgenuine Southern folkrock in the luggage.
Memphisin tiukin jamibändi
FreeWorldilla on kanttia kutsua itseään velvoittavalla liikanimellä. Yhtyeen viides levy “From the Bluff” ei juurikaan tue väitettä. Legendaarisen Jim Dickinsonin tuotanto kuitenkin antaa paljon anteeksi.
Memphisiläinen FreeWorld tahtoo musiikillaan kunnioittaa alkuperäistä bluesia, rhythm & bluesia ja gospelia. Heidän päivitetty versionsa kaikesta tästä lisää kokonaisuuteen funkia, jamibändienergiaa ja jazzia. Heidän uusin levynsä “From the Bluff” ilmestyi elokuussa bändin omalla Swirldisc-merkillä.
Bändi vietti viime vuonna 20-vuotisjuhlaansa. FreeWorld on varsinainen vanhan ja uuden koulukunnan kohtaamispaikka: nuorempien kaverien rinnalla nykykokoonpanossa soittaa saksofonisuuruus Herman Green, 78. Ryhmän johtohahmona toimii Richard Cushing. Hän vastaa “luottamustoimensa” ohella laulusta, bassosta ja sitarista.
“From the Bluff” on FreeWorldin viides pitkäsoitto. Levyn tuotannosta on vastannut Pohjois-Mississippin suuri mies Jim Dickinson. Hän on tuonut mukaan poikansa Lutherin ja Codyn, jotka tunnetusti muodostavat loistavan North Mississippi Allstarsin rungon. Siinä missä pojat ovat vielä matkalla uransa huipulle, on isällä jo kannukset hankittuina: hän on työskennellyt esimerkiksi Sam & Daven, Aretha Franklinin, The Rolling Stonesin ja Bob Dylanin kanssa.
FreeWorld julistaa, että ikiaikaisen viisauden mukaan sydämestä soitettu musiikki ei koskaan mene pois muodista. Pitkälti totta; “From the Bluff” ei kuitenkaan ole erityisen verevää musiikkia, oli se sitten kuinka syvältä sydämestä soitettua tahansa. Muutamia hyviä hetkiä lukuun ottamatta levy on täynnään valjua soul-purkkaa.
Onnistuneimpia soul-vetoja ovat rullaava avaus “Keep Smilin'” ja hyvin samantapainen, iloinen “Time on the Mountain”. Kevyttä mielihyvää nostattaa myös “Down on the Bluff”, joka on ilmeinen kunnianosoitus The Bandille: mukana ovat Rick Dankolle tyypilliset laskevat bassokulut ja falsettiin nousevat laulumelodiat. Luther Dickinson vetäisee siistin slide-suorituksen tyylikkäine sooloineen. Americana-tyylin “Not Alone” -kappaleelle on saatu mielenkiintoinen, arvoituksellinen tunnelma.
Jamiyritykset kuten “Samurai”, “Spinning Around” ja “Spartacus” jäävät päämäärätiedottomiksi. Livenä ne olisi tosin mielenkiintoista kokea: “Give It Back” osoittaa FreeWorldilla olevan potentiaalia jammailualalla.
Yhtyettä on joka tapauksessa helppo kunnioittaa oman kädenjäljen vahvuudesta. Kappaleet ovat yhtä lukuun ottamatta omaa tuotantoa, ja kannetkin on koristeltu paikallisten artistien David Lynchin ja Lamar Sorrenton taiteella.
FreeWorld kutsuu itseään Memphisin tiukimmaksi jamibändiksi. Jos tilanne on tämä, ei “From the Bluff” -albumi tosiaankaan innosta tutustumaan kaupungin muihin jamibändeihin. Toisaalta väitettä puolustaa erittäin hyvä keikkakysyntä kotikaupungissa – ja elävässä tilanteessa tämän yhtyeen taika varmasti piileekin.
FreeWorld: From the Bluff. Swirldisc Records, 2008
Richard Cushing (laulu, basso, sitar), Herman Green (saksofoni, laulu), David Skypeck (rummut), Brian Overstreet (kitara), E.J. Dyce (laulu, trumpetti, marakassit), Captain Phil McGee (saksofoni)
Vierailijat: Luther Dickinson (kitara), Cody Dickinson (sähköpesulauta), East Memphis Slim (koskettimet), Art Edmaiston (saksofoni, lehmänkello), William Taylor (trumpetti), Harold Thomas (laulu), Robert Wrightsil (taustalaulu), Jackie Johnson (taustalaulu), Richard Thomas (sello), James Govan (laulu), Rick Steff (Hammond B3), Steve Dolan (trumpetti, taustalaulu), Hope Clayburn (saksofoni, taustalaulu)
Tuottaja: Jim Dickinson
Memphis’ Tightest Jam Band
FreeWorld will have kanttia invite themselves over-binding name. The band’s fifth album “From the Bluff” largely supports this assertion. The legendary Jim Dickinson, however, the production gives a lot of strength. Memphis’
FreeWorld wants to respect the original blues, rhythm & blues and gospel. Their updated version of everything, more about this package, funk, jam band energy, and jazz. Their newest album “From the Bluff” was released in October,
on the band’s own SwirlDisc label.
The band spent the last year, 20-anniversary. FreeWorld is the real old and new school meeting point: the younger friends of parallel the current composition plays saxophone the size of Herman Green, 78. The group leadership works by Richard Cushing. He is responsible for “production
coordination” in addition to songwriting, bass and sitar.
“From the Bluff” is the band’s fifth release. The album is the production of North Mississippi big man Jim Dickinson. He has brought his sons Luther and Cody, which are known to form the brilliant North Mississippi Allstars. While
the boys are still en route to the top of their career, their father has already been acquired spurs: he has worked with, for example, Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
FreeWorld to declare that ikiaikaisen wisdom, according to the central nucleus played the music never go out of fashion. Largely true, “From the Bluff” does not, but especially verevää music, whether it be how to reach deep soitettua wholeheartedly any time. Some good moments, for the disc is täynnään valjua soul.
Soul successful bets are rolling opening “Keep Smilin'” and well along similar lines, “Time on the Mountain.” Gentle pleasure raises including “Down on the Bluff,” which is an obvious homage to The Band in the following way: They include Rick Danko calculate the typical cost of the bass and falsetto rising vocal melodies. Luther Dickinson draw clean slide-run solo coolest. The Americana-style “Not Alone” has an interesting, mysterious atmosphere.
Jami Companies such as “Samurai,” “Spinning Around” and “Spartacus”, are very psychedelic. Live, they should certainly interesting experience: “Give It Back” signifies the FreeWorld has the potential to be jammailualalla.
The band is in any case, easy to respect their own hands on copies strength. The tracks are equally, except for its own production, and the cover has been decorated by local artists David Lynch and Lamar Sorrento art.
FreeWorld calls itself “Memphis’ Tightest Jamband”. If the situation is this, then “From the Bluff” is really inspiring. The other hand, claim to defend a very good gig with the demand for this – and the real situation of this band magic surely lies.
Free World: From the Bluff. Swirldisc Records, 2008
Richard Cushing (vocals, bass, sitar), Herman Green (saxophone, vocals);
David Skypeck (drums), Brian Overland Street (guitar), EJ Dyce (vocals,
trumpet, maraca), Captain Phil McGee (saxophone)
Guests: Luther Dickinson (guitar), Cody Dickinson (electric washing plates);
East Memphis Slim (keyboards), Art Edmaiston (saxophone, cow bell);
William Taylor (trumpet), Harold Thomas (vocals), Robert Wrightsil
(backing vocals), Jackie Johnson (backing vocals), Richard Thomas (cello),
James Govan (vocals), Rick Steff (Hammond B3), Steve Dolan (trumpet,
backing vocals), Hope Clayburn (saxophone, backing vocals)
Producer: Jim Dickinson
Disc Reviews: FreeWorld’s “From the Bluff’ best when band let loose
By Mark Jordan
Special to The Commercial Appeal
Monday, December 8, 2008
From the Bluff
FreeWorld, which marked its 20th anniversary last year, is something of the elder statesman of Memphis jam bands, notable not just for its longevity but the undeniably high level of talent that has flowed through its ranks over the past two decades. It’s a veritable parade of some of the city’s best jazz, rock and R & B players.
For the band’s fifth full-length CD release, it has teamed with another Memphis institution, Jim Dickinson. Working out of his Zebra Ranch Studio in Coldwater, Miss., the producer brings along a host of guest performers, including his sons Luther and Cody of the North Mississippi Allstars; Beale Street soul man James Govan; and members of the vocal group The Masqueraders.
With such a guest list, you would expect From the Bluff to have the vibe of a party, but the disc is oddly regimented, with the compartmentalized sound of a record that’s not quite done. This is particularly glaring on the lead vocals, which all have that dubbed-over feel that calls way too much attention to the band’s lightweight, hipster lyrics.
And for a band that built its reputation on instrumental improvisation, there is not much jamming on From the Bluff. Instead the disc is dominated by actual songs, mostly of the soul-funk variety, which run the gamut from the good (“Down On the Bluff,” “Save Our Soul”) to the not-so-good (“Spinning Around”). It’s a pity, because From the Bluff soars most in those fleeting moments when the band’s members let loose, especially 78-year-old founding member Dr. Herman Green. Himself the elder statesman of the local jazz scene, Green delivers some of the album’s best, most thoughtful, achingly beautiful solos.
There are 3 responses to this article. See what others are saying. Let your voice be heard!
Posted by Pippin on December 8, 2008 at 4:30 p.m.
The FreeWorld song, “Down On The Bluff” is an example of absolutely beautiful songwriting. It is interesting to me, as someone who owns every disc by FreeWorld, and has been entertained by them for a very long time, to read the reviews over the years. For years and years, the media hated the “free jam”– and wasn’t shy about letting people know it. So now, the songs are “too compartmentalized”? C’mon– for years the criticism has been, “too free-flowing, not enough structure.”
Make up your damn minds.
But whatever you do, go and see these guys. They are the best working musicians in town, and Dr. Herman Green is a Memphis treasure. Too bad this review didn’t get printed last week, since there was a benefit for Herman this weekend. Get the disc too, you won’t regret it.
Posted by BadStreetUSA on December 8, 2008 at 6:19 p.m.
Apparently you listened to a different version of the FreeWorld disc than the one I have not taken out of the CD player since I bought it at the CD release party months ago. I may not be “paid” to critique music, but I know quality when I hear it. “From the Bluff” captures the wonderful live sound of FreeWorld. The only other disc that has had that live energy was the previous album that was actually recorded live. Maybe you need to give it another listen after seeing the band live. BTW I agree with Pippin, “Down on the Bluff” is a wonderfully written song and one of the best songs I have heard put out this year.
I don’t understand your comment about “hipster” lyrics. The only song that I would even consider in this category is “Time on the Mountain”. There is no reason to damn the entire album based upon one song (a very enjoyable song BTW).
As I reread your review before posting this, I am wondering whether you actually listened to the entire album or just snippets.
Posted by FlossieMae on December 10, 2008 at 12:53 a.m.
Well it figures. Another negative review for Memphis musicians. No wonder hardly ANYONE makes it big out of Memphis. Memphis is too busy dissing their own. I would make a small bet, he didn’t listen to all of it. Probably about 15 seconds of each song, at best. In all fairness, that’s what the record label people do from what I have heard over the years. If they dont like the first 10-15 seconds they go to the next one. But it ain’t fair. Oh well. There are a lot of people who love FreeWorld no matter what a music critic writes. But it’s a shame.
FreeWorld – “From the Bluff” (SwirlDisc) B
A big band from Memphis picking up the horns, southern jam tradition. Got t’funk when they need it and trade off vocalists – some soulful, some funky . There’s even a little psychedelic running on here…all good instrumentalists…but the “melting pot” of sound doesn’t seem to come together for me. A little too 70’s horn band for my druthers.
Remember those good old horn-driven R&B bands in the 1970s, like Tower of Power or Average White Band, who mixed soul with upbeat lyrics with jazz and funk? FreeWorld, out of Memphis, continues that great tradition into the 21st Century. They’ve been around since 1987 with their enthralling mix of Memphis, New Orleans, and the West Coast, and feature 78-year-old jazz sax legend Dr. Herman Green, who has played with Miles & Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Phineas & Calvin Newborn, and Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead), among others during his storied 60-plus year professional music career.
From The Bluff (SwirlDisc) is their fifth release and is produced by Jim Dickinson, whose resume includes producing, performing, and recording with artists like Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Ry Cooder, and the Replacements. FreeWorld consists of Green (tenor sax), along with Richard Cushing (lead vocals, bass, sitar, shaker), David Skypeck (drums), Brian Overstreet (guitars), E. J. Dyce (vocals, trumpet, maracas), and Captain Phil McGee (alto & tenor sax).
Early highlights include the upbeat “Keep Smilin’,” the punchy “Give It Back,” and “Down On The Bluff”, a nice laidback piece with lead vocals by Harold ‘Sundance’ Thomas and slide guitar from Luther Dickinson, lead guitarist with the Black Crowes and the North Mississippi Allstars. The disc jumps into a jazz direction with the next few tracks, including the instrumental “Samurai,” and “Spinning Around,” which serves as an autobiographical piece on the band’s beginnings and history. “Monkey Suit” is a torrid funk workout, and “Spartacus” is another instrumental that sounds like a muscular meeting of Memphis and late ‘60s Miles Davis, with the added bonus of Cody Dickinson’s electric washboard for good measure.
Speaking of bonuses, there’s a “Bonus” 11th track, “Save Our Soul,” a fantastic tribute to the music that made Memphis famous in the ‘60s that features vocalist James Govan in a pure soul mode, plus Hope Clayburn on sax, Steve Dolan on trumpet, and Rick Steff on Hammond B-3.
25 to 30 years ago, music like this wasn’t hard to find. It made you dance and made you feel good. Somehow, over time, it fell out of favor and basically dropped off the musical map. With their mix of soul, R&B, jazz, and rock, FreeWorld brings it all back like it used to be, and suddenly it’s like it never went away in the first place.
— Graham Clarke
FreeWorld has been an independent, regional touring, ever-evolving Memphis-based musical ensemble since 1987. Drawing from influences as broad-based as Booker T. & The MG’s, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead, Steely Dan and The Meters, the group has remained a consistently entertaining and informed voice in the Memphis music scene since the band’s inception. Their new album, From The Bluff on the SwirlDisc label, is the group’s fifth full-length CD and features The Man, none other than the 78-year-old Blues and Jazz legend, Herman Green. He joins FreeWorld on saxophone, flute and vocals. The key number on this release is the last track on the disc, the bonus track Save Our Soul. To give you an idea of what the song is like, to me, it sounds like a cross between Creedence Clearwater Revival and Otis Redding, with The Memphis Horns added in for good measure. Among the writers of the song were FreeWorld band members lead vocalist and bassist Richard Cushing and drummer David Skypeck. The final mix was tweaked and approved by the legendary Willie Mitchell. So…you know the song has got to be good. And that it is!
Red Hot Rock Magazine (Sweden)
Rockig soulfunk från Memphis. Och det låter Memphis också, kan jag lova. Eller snarare Memphis på utflykt till västkusten, med jazzig improvisation och tight blås. FreeWorld är sammankopplade med så många kända namn att man skulle kunna skriva en hel bok, men det räcker att säga att skivan är producerad av Jim Dickinson (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Big Star, med flera). Medverkar gör, förutom gruppens vanliga uppsättning med sångaren och låtskrivaren Richard Cushing i täten, bland annat Luther Dickinson (Jim Dickinson’s son) från The Black Crowes och den sjuttioåttaårige jazzsaxofonisten Herman Green, som spelat med bland andra Miles Davis. Gästsångare är bland andra Harold “Sundance” Thomas, som sjunger plattans kanske bästa spår “Down on the Bluff”.
Den här plattan känns väldigt innerlig och geniun, enkel och anspråkslös, trots alla viktiga namn och supercoola musiker. Dagens tips: kolla upp FreeWorld.
Hip soul funk from Memphis. And it also sounds like Memphis, I can promise. Or rather Memphis on a trip to the West Coast, with jazzy improvisation and a tight bladder. FreeWorld is interconnected with so many big names that you could write a book, but suffice it to say that the disc is produced by Jim Dickinson (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Big Star, and others). Guest artists, in addition to the group’s usual set of the singer and songwriter Richard Cushing in the lead, include Luther Dickinson (Jim Dickinson’s son) from The Black Crowes and seventy eight-year jazz saxophonist Herman Green, who played with Miles Davis, among others. The guest singers include Harold “Sundance” Thomas, who sings perhaps the CD’s best track, “Down on the Bluff.”
This album feels very intimate and genuine, simple and unassuming, despite all the important names and super cool musicians. Today’s tip: Check out FreeWorld.
by: Norbert Jager
From The Bluff
Rhythm & Blues, Funk und Soul. Das sind mit einer Prise Rock die wesentlichen Stilelemente der amerikanischen Band FreeWorld. Gegründet 1987, nennen sie Booker T. & the MGs, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead und The Meters als Vorbilder. Ältestes Mitglied von FreeWorld ist der 78jährige Saxophonist Herman Green, der bereits mit Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King und Lionel Hampton auf der Bühne stand. Zusammen mit den weiteren Mitgliedern kann man FreeWorld als ein Best-of-Ensemble aus Memphis, New Orleans und San Francisco bezeichnen.
“From The Bluff” ist das fünfte Album der Band und wurde von Jim Dickinson produziert. Für das Songwriting waren diesmal Bassist und Sänger Richard Cushing, Schlagzeuger David Skypeck, Gitarrist Brian Overstreet und der Trompeter E.J. Dyce verantwortlich. Die Musik klingt wie aus den guten alten Zeiten der 60er und 70er Jahre. Unaufdringlich produziert klingen die Kompositionen herrlich authentisch. Die Musiker strotzen vor Spielfreude. Wer ein Ohr für gut gemachte Musik zwischen Blues, Soul, Gospel, Funk und Rock hat und nicht auf den Mainstream-Sound eines Joe Cocker steht, sollte sich diese Scheibe unbedingt zu Gemüte führen!
From The Bluff
Rhythm & Blues, Funk and Soul. This is with a pinch of rock style the essential elements of the American band FreeWorld. Founded in 1987, they call Booker T. & the MGs, John Coltrane, Frank Zappa, The Grateful Dead and The Meters their role models. The oldest member of FreeWorld is 78-year-old saxophonist Herman Green, who has stood on the stage with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, BB King and Lionel Hampton. Together with other members of the FreeWorld, they can be described as a best-of-Ensemble from Memphis, New Orleans and San Francisco.
“From The Bluff” is the fifth album by the band and was produced by Jim Dickinson. Responsible for the songwriting this time were bassist and singer Richard Cushing, drummer David Skypeck, guitarist Brian Overstreet, and the trumpeter EJ Dyce. The music sounds like the good old days of the 60s and 70s. Discreet produces sound wonderfully authentic compositions. The musicians bursting joy before the game. If you have a good ear for music made between blues, soul, gospel, funk and rock, and not on the mainstream sound of Joe Cocker is, this disc should necessarily lead to the heart!
Twoj Blues Magazine – Poland
From the Bluff
Wydana wlasnie, a nagrywana na przelomie 2007 i 2008 roku, plyta FreeWorld “From the Bluff” jest albumem z muzyka, ktora na wlasny uzytek nazywam “American Music”. Coz oznacza ten termin? Muzyczna mieszanke w ktorej znajdziemy wplywy bluesowe, jazzowe, country, muzyki uniwersyteckiej, a nawet lekkiej komercji, odczuwalnej w latwosci komponowania chwytliwych melodii. Wszystkie te elementy sa wyraznie slyszalne na “From the Bluff” juz od otwierajacego plyte “Keep Smilin’”, a na bonusowym “Save Our Soul” konczac. Jako najwieksze inspiracje, chociaz nie wymienione we wkladce, ale wyraznie slyszaine w muzyce FreeWorld uznalbym The Band (“Down on the Bluff”) i Dave Matthews Band – ten ostatni chociazby ze wzgledu na podobne instrumentarium i wycieczki w strone jazzu.
Nie mozna odmowic muzyce zespolu tego, ze jest interesujaca. Geste struktury aranzacyjne przeplataja sie z dosc skomplikowanymi patentami rytmicznymi. Cala plyta jest do granic mozliwosci nasycona roznorakimi smaczkami. Najwiecej ciekawostek i zaskakujacych rozwiazan dostarcza gra sekcji detej. Niesamowity wklad w wysoki poziom albumu wniesli zaproszeni w liczbie trzynastu (!) goscie. Sa to zarowno wokalisci jak i instrumentalisci. Najciekawiej z zaproszonych muzykow wypadli grajacy na gitarze slide w utworze “Down on the Bluff” Luther Dickinson i spiewajacy w tej samej kompozycji Harold “Sundance” Thomas. Kolejnym elementem wplywajacym na jakosc “From the Bluff” jest produkcja. Stoi ona na naprawde wysokim poziomie i dodaje plycie tak niezbednej przy takiej muzyce spojnosci.
Polecam plyte tym wszystkim, ktorxy szukaja nowych brzmien i sa ciekawi jak mozna polaczyc rozne gatunki w niezwykle ciekawa calosc.
Pawel Yoda Jodko
Recorded during the turning point between the years 2007 and 2008, the disc “From the Bluff” by the band FreeWorld is an album with music that I would personally call “American Music”, with a musical mixture of influences such as blues, jazz, country, university music, even easy commerce, in facility of composing sensible melody chwytliwych. All these elements are distinctly audible on “From the Bluff”, from the opening track “Keep Smilin'”,
to the bonus track “Save our Soul”. As biggest inspirations, though not to mentioned wkadce, I would recognize audible in music distinctly the band Dave Matthews – even from the point of view of similar instrumentation and
excursions into jazz.
It is not possible to deny that the music of this group is interesting. Thick arrangement structures are interlaced with enough complicated (elaborate) rhythmical patents. The whole disc is saturated for borders of capabilities different savors. Maximally interesting details and game of section would supply surprising solution. Thirteen invited guests have contributed amazing high level contributions to the album. There are vocalists as well as instrumentalists. Most notable invited musicians in the song “Down on the Bluff” on guitar in work most curiously playing slide guitar
Luther Dickinson and in same composition singing Harold “Sundance” Thomas. Production is next element effecting the quality of “From the Bluff”. Really, it stands on high level and it adds an essential cohesion to the music on the
disc. I recommend this disc to all who search for new tones and are musically curious, as it is possible to join different sorts to unusually curious integrity. Pawel Yoda Jodko
Finnish Blues News Review
From the Bluff
(SwirlDisc SD 78453 630)
(1) Keep Smilin’ (2) Give it Back (3) Time on the Mountain (4) Down on the Bluff (5) Samurai (6) Spinning Around (7) Monkey Suit (8) Simmer Down (9) Not Alone (10) Spartacus (11) Save Our Soul
Tämän levyn kanssa kävi niin, että tämä tuli minulle ihan puun takaa. Ensikuuntelun aikana, jolloin samalla värkkäsin jotain, meni koko homma täysin ohi… Sitten kun deadline alkoi kaatua päälle ja oli (taas) jo korkea aika perehtyä aiheeseen kunnolla, niin jopas olikin vastassa iloinen yllätys.
USA:n Memphisin kaupungista ponnistava FreeWorld-yhtye on aiemmin julkaissut neljä täyspitkää cd:tä ja kataloogi siitä, keiden kaikkien keralla on esiinnytty on erittäin vakuuttava ja turhia tyylikarsinoita rikkova. Levylla on melkoissen vahvassa pääroolissa 78-vuotias saksofonisti Dr. Herman Green, jonka yli kuusi vuosikymmentä kattavaan uraan mahtuu vaikka mitä – ja soitto – sekä levytyskumppaneita löytyy pienen puhelinluettelon verran. Muu soittajisto on jonkun verran nuorempaa ryhmää, mutta ei tokikaan mitään nöössi-osastoa. Tuottajaksi paketille on saatu jokseenkin legendaarinen Jim Dickinson.
Se, mikä minua alkoi levyssä aivan erityisesti viehättää, on sen maanläheinen, hieman vanhahtava funk-soundi. Jotenkin minulle tuli mielleyhtymiä muinaisiin Osibisa – ja The Beginning of the End – yhtyeisiin. Groove on aivan hellittämätöntä eikä svengi seisahda hetkeksikään. Lisäksi tuhdisti soundaavat puhaltimet, varsinkin foni, saavat paljon soittotilaa. Vielä levyllä on havaittavissa tietty sinisilmä-soul-vinkkeli. Solisti ei yritä liikaa, mutta pysyy kuitenkin mukana vauhdissa koko ajan. No, sanotaan, ettei ainakaan Booker T-Meters-Neville – menon ystävien kannata ylenkatsoa tätä.
Itse biiseistä mainittakoon instrumentaali (5), joka yltyy jopa melkoiseen improvisaatioon. Instru on myös (10), mutta täällä saa kesken hyvän meiningin kitaristi, harmittavan, happokohtauksen. Laulunumeroista nostan tapetille aika humoristisen (7):n sekä päätösnumeron, joka puhuu vuosikertasoulin puolesta. Siivulla vilahtelee montakin tuttua riffiä 60-luvulta ja tällainen kunnianosoitus-kierrätys on varsin hauskaa.
Funkimman osaston ystäville tarkistuksen paikka!
From the Bluff
(SwirlDisc SD 78453 630)
The disc was such that it initially came to me while I was behind schedule, and I completely missed the whole thing… Then when my deadline began to fall on top, I found it high time to study the issue properly, and was delighted to meet a surprise. USA’s Memphis’ FreeWorld has in the past released four full-length CD’s, and their music is very convincing and doesn’t necessary fit into any one particular style. This disc holds a pretty strong role for 78-year-old saxophonist Dr. Herman Green, who’s more than six decades of a comprehensive career fit whatever – and play – and the recording of the band is also high quality. Other bandmembers are somewhat younger, but is certainly not anything undesirable. Producer of the package is the legendary Jim Dickinson.
But what started me on the disc, in particular, are attracted to, is the country in a close, a little obsolescent-funk sound. Somehow, I became a connotation to the ancient Osibisa – and “The Beginning of the End – yhtyeisiin. Groove is a very pressing and swing seisahda moment, either. In addition, guest artists, especially vocalists, receive a lot of playing space. Once you have detected a certain blue-eye-soul-vinkkeli. The soloist does not try too much, but it remains, however, with the pace all the time. Well, it is said that at least the influence of Booker T.-Meters-Neville – can be heard.
In fact, the instrumental track (5), holds the greatest improvisation. The instrumental is also (10), and here on a good guitarist meiningin, acid scene. Vocal numbers will get tapetille time humorous (7) as well as the bonus track, which speaks on behalf of vintage soul. There are also several familiar 60s riffs, and such a tribute to recycling is quite fun. Funkimman Department of friends review the place!
It’s that time of year again. What are the best and worst albums of 2008? The Pop Syndicate music critics take a moment to list their favorite and least favorite CDs of the year. What were you favorites?
- New Kids on the Block: The Block – Best new music by the NKOTB
- HighrisesInBrooklyn: Kelley McRae – Sing-along music
- Stop and Think About It: Chris James & Patrick Rynn – Good ole Cajun mix
- Misadventures in Stereo: Jim Boggia – Playing around with sounds and vocals
- Stream of Concrete: Teresa Storch – Somber mix of songs, strengthy voice
- Songs for You, Truths for Me: James Morrison – Almost like ballads of his life
- Something Else: Robin Thicke – This man is “good”!
- Not Only…But Also: The 88 – Thriving mix between performers and listerner
- As The Crow Flies: Professor Louis & The Crowmatix – The best I’ve heard for gentle rock and Louisiana-style music
- Live on Breeze Hill: Rick Danko Band – A tribute to a renowned performer
- Parplar: Larkin Grimm – Grim just like her name
- From The Bluff: FreeWorld – Too much rock, not enough vocal
- Crazee & Confuzed: Stack$ – If you “dig” rap, enjoy. I don’t like foul music.
- Shot The Devil: Gravelroad – A stab at being good but missing the mark
- Scandal: MasterSlashSlave – Their music is a scandal and shouldn’t be played anywhere
Rock ‘n’ Reel Magazine
From the Bluff
3 Stars (out of 4)
Blues, soul, gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, jazz, rhythm ‘n’ blues, rock and funk – depending on your viewpoint, these can all be Memphis music – and six-piece band FreeWorld are the living proof that they can all happily co-exist.
The opening number is a rock outing, then it is into some jazzy funk with the follow-up, and this eclectic approach continues throughout, right up to the closer – a classic soul workout entitled ‘Save Our Soul’ with its excellent vocal by Beale Street veteran James Govan. Recorded under the aegis of producer Jim Dickinson, whose credits include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Charlie Musselwhite, Ry Cooder, and the Rolling Stones, he was clearly the ideal man for the job as all those names and styles seem to have had some impact on this CD.
The line-up includes the founding member, seventy-eight-year-old sax veteran Dr. Herman Green, whilst guests include musicians from The Black Crowes and The North Mississippi Allstars, plus Stax original Nokie Taylor. Part of the fun of this release is spotting the influence; the other part is simply being able to enjoy such excellent music.
Blues News – Germany
FreeWorld dreht die Zeit zurück: Das bislang nur regional in der Gegend von Memphis (Tennessee) aktive Sextett spielt reichlich groovendes Zeugs, das in den 70ern angesagt war. Blues, Jazz, Funk und Rock werden auf “From the Bluff” (Blind Dracoon) mit reichlich Gebläse vermischt, produziert hat das Spektakel mit dreizhen Gastmusikern (dabei der fast 80-jährige Jazz-Saxer Herman Green). Jim Dickinson, der schorr Dylan, die Stones, Aretha Franklin und andere tontechnisch in Szene setzte. Immerhin: Drei mit Schmackes gespielte Soul-Blues machen richtig Spaß, die übrigen acht Songs mit Fusion-Charakter eher weniger.
FreeWorld turns back the time: So far only regionally the sextet active in the area of Memphis (Tennessee) plays plentifully groove things, which was announced in the 70’s. Blues, jazz, funk and rock are all on “From the Bluff” (Blind Raccoon). With plentifully blower, Jim Dickinson produced the mixed pageant with many guest musicians (including the nearly 80-year old jazz Saxer Herman Green). He has also produced Dylan, the Stones, Aretha Franklin and others one set clay-technically in scene. Nevertheless: Three Soul Blues played with Schmackes make correctly fun, the remaining eight songs with a fusion character rather less.
Soulbag – France
FROM THE BLUFF
3 stars (out of 4)
Cette production de Jim Dickinson a (presque) tout d’un bon produit de Memphis. Dominé par le bassiste-chanteur – et joueur de sitar – Richard Cushing, FreeWorld nous offre du bon rock’n’roll bluesy bien huilé, du funk groovy à souhait, de la soul aux riffs précis et sautillants, parfois jazzy ou plus soft encore, côté bossa avec cordes. Quelle variété!
Le sextet de base se fait accompagner par 13 guests, tous cuivres dehors. En final, on a droit à un titre de 2004, “Save Our Soul”, remarquablement chanté par James Govan et mixé par Willie Mitchell lui-même, qui apporte ainsi sa caution à une formation de qualité. Si on évite l’insupportable “Spartacus”, le 10e titre, l’ensemble est homogéne et agréable. ~Marc Loison
This production of Jim Dickinson has (almost) a very good product from Memphis. Dominated by the bass player-singer – and player of sitar – Richard Cushing, FreeWorld offers us good rock’n’roll, well-oiled blues, and funk grooves with a wish of the drunk person to the fronts precise and hopping, sometimes jazzy or more software still, side worked with cords. What a variety!
The basic sextet is accompanied by 13 guests, all coppers outside. For the bonus track, one is treated to a title of 2004, “Save Our Soul”, remarkably sung by James Govan and mixed by Willie Mitchell himself, which thus brings its guarantee to a formation of quality. If one avoids the unbearable “Spartacus”, the 10th title, the unit is homogeneous and pleasant.
Od poniedzia?ku do pia˛tku o 19.50 opowiada Andrzej Matysik.
By? to utwór “Keep Smilin'” otwieraja˛cy p?yte˛ o tytule “From The Bluff”, zespo?u nazywaja˛cego sie˛ FreeWorld a pochodza˛cego z Memphis w stanie Tennessee..
To debiut tego zespo?u na falach naszego radia mimo, z˙e istnieje on praktycznie juz˙ od 15 lat. Od pocza˛tku jego trzon tworza˛ trzej muzycy: basista Richard Cushing, saksofonista Herman Green i graja˛cy na perkusji David Skypeck a pozostali instrumentalis´ci stanowia˛ “p?ynna˛” cze˛s´c´ sk?adu. W ogóle to zespó? funkcjonuje na zasadzie “jam-bandu” bo kaz˙dy z muzyków udziela sie˛ ca?y czas w swoich formacjach.
Nobilitacja˛ tej p?yty na pewno jest fakt, z˙e jej producentem jest s?ynny Jim Dickinson, ojciec Luthera i Cody’ego – cz?onków grupy The North Mississippi All Stars. Cody i Luther graja˛ tez˙ na tej p?ycie, podobnie jak kilku innych, specjalnych gos´ci.
W muzyce FreeWorld ogniskuja˛ sie˛ zainteresowania poszczególnych jej cz?onków, szerokie – od bluesa, poprzez jazz, muzyke˛ soulowa˛ i klasyczny rock’n’roll. To powoduje, z˙e p?yty s?ucha sie˛ z zainteresowaniem a ca?a jej zawartos´c´ zawiera sie˛ w szeroko poje˛tym has´le “southern soul”. Pos?uchajmy FreeWorld w kolejnym utworze z tej p?yty, “Spinning Around”.
From poniedzia? Andrzej tells towards for about 19.50 ˛ pia tku Matysik. Poniedzia? 2008-11-03 ( ) ek? stand it work ” ‘ ” ˛ Keep Smilin otwieraja cy p? have have remained about title ˛ ” bluff ” yte From The, zespo? At ˛ ˛ nazywaja cego sie FreeWorld but memphis stand with (from) in (to) tennessee ˛ pochodza cego. It this debut zespo? At on our waves of radio in spite of, he (it) exists with (from) from 15 lat (summer; year) practically ˙ ˙ e juz. From ˛ he (its; his; it) main part ˛ musician (composer) pocza tku tworza trzej bass Richard Cushing, saxophonist of Herman Green and David on percussion ˛ graja cy Skypeck have have remained they but ´ it ˛ ” instrumentalis stanowia p? ˛ ” ˛ Page (s) ´ ´ book store ynna cze c? adu. It in whole zespó? It functions on principle ” ” jam-bandu lends it from musicians (composers) because ˙ ˛ kaz dy sie ca? In formations time (sometimes) y. Ennoblement ˛ it p? Surely fact is yty, is there with (from) page (s) ˙ she (its; her; it) e? ynny Jim Dickinson, father of Luther and Cody – cz? Group onków The North Mississippi All Stars. Cody On it and ˛ thesis ˙ Luther graja p? ycie, Just as several other, special ´ it gos. In music ˛ ˛ interest individual she (its; her; it) FreeWorld ogniskuja sie cz? onków, Wide from blues -, through jazz, ˛ ˛ muzyke soulowa and classic rock’n’roll. It causes, with (from) ˙ e p? Page (s) yty? Ears (ears) with interest ˛ sie but ca? But it includes (reach; make) in (to) widely ´ ´ ˛ ˛ it ´ ” ” zawartos c sie poje has le southern soul. Pos? In next work from it uchajmy FreeWorld p? yty, “Spinning Around”.
From the Bluff
SD 78453 630
Available from MacDaddyTrax.
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
The promo lit tells me this ensemble is a Memphis-driven unit and, sure enough, it is, but there are distinct echoes of the 60s San Francisco enclave, most notably seen in Stoneground and Tower of Power, that carried the tang in their own distinctive ways. FreeWorld, to these ears, is more like them. That’s both good and.not-as-good. Give It Back is a slice of chunky funky monkey, upbeat and quirky, but the follower, Time on the Mountain waxes too Sons of Champlin-ish, a group could be fairly mediocre fairly often. A huge point of attraction, though, is Brian Overstreet and his mutable guitar, now blazingly hot, now laid back and sassy, then lazily delta buzzy.
More than a little soul pervades the ensemble (Down on the Bluff) tinged by a Taj Mahal-ish folk sense. The mellowly jazzy instrumental Samurai gives the horns elbow room but Monkey Suit starts out by lighting a match under Overstreet and then, late in the song, cuts him loose to wail, and, hoo-boy!, can that cat play when given his head, a several time occurrence that sets the CD aglow amid fire and heat.
From the Bluff is mostly very good material a few times caught by lackluster cuts but withal brimming with an elder days vibe that’s worthy in and of its own. I mentioned Stoneground and Tower of Power a couple paragraphs ago, and I’ll very happily listen to these guys over those any day of the week, but this CD tells me FreeWorld hasn’t scaled its own heights yet. A bit more concentration in the guitar and horns and they’ll have it. I’m waiting for someone to do for this sound what the first few Mother’s Finest LPs did for rock funk, and this just might be the band to finally accomplish that. They’re awfully close already.
Oh, and will someone puh-leeze knock off this “bonus cut” nonsense. Geez, we’re well past the Mad Ave. overkill stage in CDs by now. I don’t mean to pick on these guys for it, but it’s gotta stop somewhere, so I’m beginning here. Unless a disc is a re-issue, there’s no such thing as a “bonus cut”. C’mon. Besides, the disc is a generous near-hour long-the “bonus cut” gimmick’s unnecessary.
a.. Keep Smilin’
b.. Give It Back
c.. Time on the Mountain
d.. Down on the Bluff
f.. Spinning Around
a.. Monkey Suit
b.. Simmer Down
c.. Not Alone
e.. Save Our Soul
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
FreeWorld “From the Bluff”
CD of the Month, February, 2009
BluesZine 91 – The Netherlands
Blues Matters! Magazine #126
From the Bluff
You might not have heard of FreeWorld, but you will have heard of their producer on this CD, one Jim Dickinson, and his sons, Luther and Cody (North Mississippi Allstars), who also appear on this record. The band, FreeWorld, are actually one of Memphis’s premier jam bands and have been going for more than twenty years. This is their fifth studio record and it features an array of musical talent. The record is dominated by jazz funk, which in itself can either be a blessing or a curse. The opener “Keep Smilin’” is a solid piece of Blues-rock, but after that, it goes headlong into the majesty of jazz, a la Weather Report or Steely Dan. It’s always a pleasure to hear musicians with real ability to play, but some of the later tracks do rather merge into one as the jamming takes over. At times, it feels like a left over from a certain age when an album wasn’t an album until it had at least four different solos on each track.
FreeWorld – From The Bluff
Blindraccoon / Swirldisc – SD 78453.630
Les notes de Paris on the Move
TRES BON (4 STARS!)
Produit par Jim Dickinson, véritable icône de la musique à Memphis (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, entre autres…), ‘From The Bluff’ est le cinquième opus du combo et assure, côté son comme côté compos. Et comme avec certains labels le Père Noël c’est toute l’année, vous avez en bonus un onzième titre, cool, n’est-ce pas?
Cool, les Freeworld le sont, et leur musique respire le plaisir de jouer. Un plaisir qu’a insufflé en 1987 l’un des fondateurs du groupe, Dr Herman Green, le légendaire joueur de saxo qui accompagna Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, et bien d’autres encore, le ‘jeunot’ fêtant cette année ses 78 printemps.
Cool, les Freeworld l’ont toujours été et le resteront encore longtemps, n’hésitant pas à inviter à leurs sessions des pointures telles Luther Dickinson à la slide guitar, Art Edmaiston au saxo, Cody Dickinson (le fabuleux batteur des North Mississippi Allstars) à l’electric washboard, ou ‘East Memphis’ Slim et ses claviers.
Morceau cent pour cent musical niché au milieu de la galette, ‘Samourai’ vous offre une orgie de cuivres tous plus lumineux les uns que les autres, preuve que dans un combo comme Freeworld, les anciens comme Herman Green peuvent non seulement rivaliser mais fusionner avec plus jeunes que lui, tels E.J. Dyce à la trompette et ‘Captain’ Phil McGhee au saxo.
Sur ‘Simmer Down’, Brian Overstreet vous gratifie d’un splendide solo de guitare, salué par de grandes envolées de cuivres. Ici vous n’aurez pas de solo de six cordes à chaque titre ni de solo de saxo à tour de bras ; c’est comme cela vient, et puis faut bien faire aussi un peu de place aux invités, comme au violoncelle de Richard Thomas, sur ‘Not Alone’, l’un des morceaux les plus acoustiques d’une galette au son bien plein et rutilant à souhait.
Quand vous saurez enfin que les peintures pour la couv et le dos du livret sont signées par deux peintres de Memphis, David Lynch et Lamar Sorrento, alors oui, vous vous direz que ces mecs là, de Freeworld, sont décidément très cool, et que rien ne vaut la zik de gens cool comme ça.
Frankie Bluesy Pfeiffer
Blues Magazine & Paris-Move
Produced by Jim Dickinson, true icon of the music to Memphis (Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, among others…), ‘From The Bluff’ is the fifth opus of the combo and assures, side his as side compos. And as with certain labels the Father Christmas this is all the year, you have in bonus an eleventh title, cool, not NOT THIS step? Cool, the FreeWorld are it, and their music breathes the pleasure to play. A pleasure that instilled in 1987 the one of the founders of the group, Dr Herman Green, the legendary player of sax that accompanied Miles Davis, John Coltrane, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, and many other again, the ‘jeunot’ celebrating this year its 78 springs. Cool, the FreeWorld always were it and still remain it a long time, not hesitating to invite to their size session aces such Luther Dickinson to the slide guitar, Art Edmaiston to the sax, Cody Dickinson (the fabulous drummer of the North Mississippi Allstars) to the electric washboard, or ‘East Memphis’ Slim and his keyboards. Piece hundred musical percent nested in the middle of the tart, ‘Samurai’ offers you a copper orgy all more luminous one than the others, proof that in a combo as FreeWorld, the old ones as Herman Green not only can compete but to merge with younger than him, such E.J. Dyce to the trumpet and ‘Captain’ Phil McGee to the sax. On ‘Simmer Down’, Brian Overstreet favors you with a splendid solo of guitar, greeted by of big flown ones away of coppers. Here you will not have any solo of six ropes to every title or of solo of sax to turn of arm; this is as that comes, and then is necessary well to do also a little places to the guests, as to the cello of Richard Thomas, on ‘Not Alone’, the one of the pieces the more acoustics of a tart to the well full sound and sparkling to wish. When you will know at last that the paints for the couv and the booklet back are signed by two painters of Memphis, David Lynch and Lamar Sorrento, then yes, you will be said that those guys, of FreeWorld, are obviously very cool, and that nothing is worth the zik of people cool as that.
Frankie Bluesy Pfeiffer
Blues Magazine & Paris Move
(Originally in Russian – 4 Stars!)
This disk is received from Blind Raccoon.
The fifth in a discography of ensemble FreeWorld, the album From The Bluff became for me the first acquaintance to this collective. And I have born impressions of this acquaintance ambiguous. You about represent, what music groups of Memphis can play? Well, for certain, a rhythm-and-blues, probably, a blues, probably, gospel, maybe, a jazz. And so, FreeWorld hails from Memphis and in its music there is all the aforesaid. Thus separately each of components at all is not a sample of stylistic perfection, but here together all this works and sounds very impressive.
Has put here, certainly, first of all, in skill and experience of musicians. Group FreeWorld exists since 1987, that is more than twenty years. For today its formal leader is the singer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Cushing, but the most prominent figure in FreeWorld is, undoubtedly, Dr. Herman Green, the 78-year-old saxophonist, who’s professional career totals already more than sixty years. Over these years Green has had time to play with greatest of great – from Coltrane and Miles Davis and up to B.B. King and Lionel Hampton. By an album, it also today plays quite adequately. In general, visitors participated in recording From The Bluff from among local musicians so much, that it is possible to consider this album made as a musical combined team of Memphis. Has organized this project too the well-known local producer – Jim Dickinson.
But name FreeWorld nevertheless knowingly flaunts on a cover of an album. Practically all the compositions which have been written down here, are composed by musicians of group, especially it is necessary to note here Richard Cushing. Two greater instrumentals – Samurai and Spartacus were remembered (in last Green and guitarist Overstreet) are especially good. Unexpectedly in a context of sounding of an album and consequently game on sitar Cushing in melancholic and multilayered ballad Not Alone interestingly looked. The resume: a contemporary « Memphis sound » with the perceptible smack of a jazz should not disappoint the fan of such cocktails.
Review in French Magazine “Le Cri du Coyote; #110” (“Cry of the Coyote”)
FreeWorld: From The Bluff
Nostalgiques du son Stax des 60’s? Alors, ce CD, produit par Jim Dickinson (un des personnages les plus excentriques de Memphis qui avait, en son temps, enregistré un peu de Rockabilly) vous intéressera. La majorité des titres étant dans ce style, parfois plus Funk ou Boogaloo, avec un peu de Variété, un instrumental inclassable et une agréable ballade Soul, “Down on the Bluff”.
Nostalgic for the Stax sound of the 60’s? Then this CD, produced by Jim Dickinson (one of the more eccentric people of Memphis that had, in his time, recorded a little Rockabilly) will interest you. The majority of the titles being in this style, sometimes more Funk or Boogaloo, with a little variety, an unclassifiable instrumental and a pleasant Soul ballad, “Down on the Bluff”.
Living Blues Magazine (#200; April, 2009)
From the cover story article: “Voices from the Past, Life in the BB King Orchestra”
First there’s a little history paragraph, then a part about Floyd Newman, then it says:
(late 1940s- early 1950s)
by Scott Barretta
“Saxophonist Herman Green was one of the first musicians to play with B.B. King after King moved from Indianola to Memphis in the late ’40s, and at 78 he continues to perform regularly in his hometown. Green, who has performed alongside many jazz luminaries, continues to lead his own jazz outfit, the Green Machine. Since 1987 he has also worked with the eclectic jamband FreeWorld, with whom he’s recorded five albums, including the recent, Jim Dickinson-produced From The Bluff.
On the track, Spinning Around, which tells of the formation of FreeWorld, Green proclaims, ‘I’m the Man,” which was his simple response over 20 years ago to young musicians who were seeking someone who could lend their band cohesion and credibility. And he’s got cred.
Green commands wide respect in his hometown, and since being presented with an honorary degree from Memphis College of Art he’s usually introduced as Dr. Herman Green. He comes from a long line of musicians, including his father Herman Washington, who performed in the band of W.C. Handy. Green began playing locally as a teenager with his uncle Leo at venues including Club Handy, and he recalls first meeting King in 1947 when he was just 17.
King, Green recalls, was fresh out of the country with a cardboard guitar case, and they were soon playing together in regional roadhouses “out in the field” with tip jars. Later they were able to get more profitable gigs with the aid of an agent and via performances over the radio.
“At WDIA we played three or four songs, and then BB would announce where we were playing [that night],” says Green.
Green also recalls how he helped save a gig: “BB had a fire in his home and his guitar got burned,” says Green. “I was playing guitar at that time at [my stepfather’s] church, so I said we can go get the guitar if we get it back in time Sunday morning. So we went on and played the gig and we got it back in time. It’s in his book”. King also recalls that they left a ten-dollar offering for loan of the guitar.
Green left the group before the break-through success of Three O’Clock Blues, but he left his mark on Rufus Thomas’ first sessions for Chess, recorded at Sam Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service.
Green was drafted in the early ’50s, and after completing his service led the house band at San Francisco’s jazz club The Blackhawk from 1955 to 1958. The club was the favored late-night venue for visiting musicians, and during Green’s tenure there he played with jazz royalty including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly, Dave Brubeck, and fellow Memphian Phineas Newborn Jr.
In the late 50s Green joined the band of Lionel Hampton and moved to New York City. He returned to Memphis in the late 60s and in the mid-’70s formed the Green Machine. He headed the jazz studies program at LeMoyne-Owen College and in addition to making his own recordings over the last decades, has appeared as a guest on albums by artists including Jimmie Vaughan and veteran Memphis guitarist Calvin Newborn, who appeared on King’s first recordings for RPM.”
Then the article goes on for another 4 or 5 pages showcasing the others in BB’s orchestra, plus there’s a color picture (courtesy of Herman) of BB and Herman and Melvin Lee performing at the ’81 Handy Awards.
Monday, April 13, 2009
“Keep Smilin” ~ FreeWorld ~ All Memphis Music ~ Internet Radio ~
Hey all you Memphis Music Fans….The gang at All Memphis Music is just plain tired of all the talk about gloom and doom recession, Coach Cal, etc, etc, etc.
So one day we heard the Memphis band, FreeWorld’s song called ” Keep Smilin”. It instantly put a “smile” on our faces, so please indulge us when you hear it a lot in the next few weeks. It can’t help but make you feel better, we promise. Here’s some info about the band:
FreeWorld – “From the Bluff“
If you haven’t picked up a copy of their new CD “From the Bluff” yet (produced by Jim Dickinson, & featuring guest appearances by his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson, Art Edmaiston, Hope Clayburn, Nokie Taylor, Rick Steff, The Masqueraders, James Govan, Jackie Johnson & Richard Thomas), then feel free to ask any one of us at one of our upcoming gigs, and we’ll be more than happy to hook you up. You can also click the “Buy” button on the All Memphis Music player window and it will take you directly to Amazon.com where you can pick up your own copy of “Keep Smilin” and see if it doesn’t make your day……Thanks for listening, and thanks for indulging us!
Thanks to the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau for their support of All Memphis Music and “KEEP SMILIN’”
When preparing to write an article about the diversified band FreeWorld, Metro Music was swamped by reviews and information. To sum up the band in one article would be a phenomenal feat that’s beyond my current ability as editor. A seasoned writer would consume this information, gloss it up, and then spit it out with a flair and expertise that I do not yet possess. So for this article I ask the reader to bear with me, for I shall never do the band justice with what I am able to write.
FreeWorld started in 1987 as most bands start…a bunch of guys from different bands and backgrounds and a dream of playing music. However, some of these guys were seasoned veterans, and the collaborative effort was a success. The band played their first gig at The South End in October of 1987. From that first gig over 20 years ago, the band has played all over the Southeast and has even completed two European tours. The band has played thousands of shows and is an inspiration to local bands in the Memphis area.
The band has enjoyed radio play all over the world, and in previewing the list of radio stations that have played the band’s music, there were radio stations in Croatia, Canada, Spain, England, France, Poland, Israel, Australia, and numerous locations across the United States. In addition to traditional radio stations, the band also has a nice list of webcasts. To list all of the radio stations, honors and reviews would take an endless amount of space. The document on my desktop was 36 pages long and was full of album reviews, awards, radio stations, and more interesting information. If you want to view more information on the band, you can visit the band’s website or MySpace page at:
FreeWorld released their first album in 1994, and over the years have since released a total of five albums, each one more successful than the last. Their latest CD “From the Bluff” was released in October 2008, and has been considered a work of art through and through. From the original artwork on the cover to the fresh and original material on the CD, the disc has been considered a success by many in the music business. Current band members include jazz saxophonist/flutist Dr. Herman W. Green, bassist/vocalist Richard Cushing, drummer David Skypeck, guitarist Brian Overstreet, and trumpeter/vocalist E. J. Dyce.
Well, as far as bands go, we all know how hard it is to keep band members together. Talking to bands all over the Midsouth, I have seen members come and go with all the bands I have worked with — a guitarist here, a drummer there — and most bands don’t make it through all of the transitions that they must go through to become the band they hope they can be. FreeWorld has not been exempt from these changes, and after over 20 years they have had many changes and members. Wrap your mind around some of these numbers:
5 different bassists
11 different drummers
11 different guitarists
12 different keyboardists
9 different trumpet players
23 different woodwind players
3 different trombone players
33 different percussionists
47 different vocalists
21 different OTHERS
32 different engineers
6 different producers
21 different songwriters
So the next time your band goes through a change, it won’t seem so bad. That’s over 200 different members over the years. While it’s true that some of these were guest performers or special guests, the number is still impressive! A band that can survive this much change over a period of 20 years has to be focused on their music and having fun. Gig after gig, the band has remained a staple in the Memphis Music scene.
Not only have the band members been out there making music, but some of them are also prominent members of the Memphis Music Community. Band members, most notably Richard Cushing, have been active in local music organizations such as NARAS and the Memphis and Shelby County Music Commission. Their efforts are a benefit to all musicians in our community, and Metro Music is honored to feature them in our first issue.
Johnny Nesbitt, Editor
If you didn’t know that FreeWorld was out of Memphis before you picked up this CD, then you definitely will by the time you are finished listening to it. From the front cover to the actual disc, this CD screams “Memphis” the whole time you have it in your hands.
The outside artwork makes you feel like you are entering a time machine that will transport you back to when music and times were simpler, but it allows you to keep an eye on the present and what is going on now. The CD cover makes you feel that you are in the 70s, but the Memphis Pyramid in the skyline reminds you that you are really in 2009.
Once you crank up the CD, you are once again transported to a time when things were much simpler with the same subtle reminders of the present. A mix of Soul, Blues, Jazz and Rock, the CD is classic Memphis music at its best. At first I was reminded of the Blues Brothers — just soulful music that is fun to listen to. Then I started listening to the lyrics and started hearing the stories, dreams lost, and history. Almost poetic, the lyrics of songs such as “Down on the Bluff”, “Monkey Suit”, and “Spinning Around” each tell a different story. “Down on the Bluff” has a “Walking in Memphis” feel to it. You can just feel yourself going down to the river bluff to chill out and relax after getting stressed out. “Monkey Suit” tells a story that many of us can relate to; getting trapped in an existence not to our liking or being trapped in the corporate world and wanting to be the hang-loose, hippie type. “Spinning Around” tells the tale of the band and how it was formed.
This CD is musically sound and diverse. It is toe-tapping good and
intellectually challenging. For that reason, Chicken rates it 4 feet up!
CRITICAS CD’S TRIMESTRALES / QUARTERLY CD’s REVIEWS
FreeWorld “From The Bluff”. SwirlDisc / Blind Raccoon 2008. La música de FreeWorld es poderosa, enérgica, altamente inflamable y muy cruda, además de desprender una fuerza inusitada capaz de subir la tensión arterial a cotas inimaginables y peligrosas para la salud de cualquier melómano. Este sexteto que tiene su base en Memphis, combina con efectivo buen criterio música ‘americana’, southern rock y rhythm and blues, bebiendo de diversas fuentes musicales como Broker T. & The MG’s, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Greateful Dead o B.B. King. El grupo lleva ya muchos años en el negocio, por lo que su experiencia, tanto en el escenario como en el estudio, es realmente inmejorable. FreeWorld han compartido escenario con incontables y variados músicos de todos los estilos y procedencias. Valga como ejemplo Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Hot Tuna, Billy Preston, Richie Havens, Los Lobos, Dr. John, James Cotton, The Bar-Kays, Timothy Leary, Mojo Buford… etc. MUY BUENO!
FreeWorld “From The Bluff”. SwirlDisc / Blind Raccoon 2008. FreeWorld music is powerful, energetic, rough and flaming, with an uncontrolled strength that will raise music lovers’ blood pressure to really unbelievable levels almost dangerous for their health. This six-piece Memphis-based band combines, with effective good taste, ‘americana’ music, southern rock and rhythm & blues, from different musical sources such as Booker T. & The MG’s, Frank Zappa, John Coltrane, Grateful Dead and B.B. King. They have already spent many years into music business and have got a wide, unbeatable experience on stage and recording studios. FreeWorld have shared the stage with a countless variety of musicians coming from diverse styles and fields. Only as an example mention Levon Helm, The Memphis Horns, Hot Tuna, Billy Preston, Richie Havens, Los Lobos, Dr. John, James Cotton, The Bar-Kays, Timothy Leary, Mojo Buford, etc. VERY GOOD!
Jim Dickinson: Farewell to a True Memphis Icon
“Memphis is about making chaos out of seeming order.”
Jim Dickinson-It Came From Memphis by Robert Gordon
I believe it would be safe to say that most of us in the Memphis music community
share a deep sadness over the passing of local legend, Jim Dickinson. Dickinson was recovering from a recent heart surgery and died peacefully in his sleep early Saturday morning at 67.
I’ve spent the last few days online reading articles, obituaries and viewing YouTube vids that covered most of the highlights of Dickinson’s colorful career. Notably, his days as a Dixie Flyer session player, memorable contributions to The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, producing The Replacements and my personal favorite, Big Star’s “Third/Sister Lovers.” Ironically, Jim’s solo projects will probably received more recognition in death than when he was here with us, but he probably saw that coming.
Something disturbed me about Dickinson’s passing and sent my personal sadness into a double whammy of sorts. It dawned on me that Jim Dickinson was one of the last true Memphis icons that symbolized what this area is all about. Somehow, this was overlooked in most of the pieces I read, but on the other hand, unless you’re from here you may not know what that symbolism is all about.
Memphis and Mid-South music has always had a reputation for colorful, defiant misfits. That element coupled with cultural, spiritual and ethnic diversity gave the world what’s commonly known as that “Memphis thang.” Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Phillips, Rufus Thomas, Al Green and Isaac Hayes are shining examples of what I’m talking about. Jim Dickinson shied away from that sort of fame, but was just as much an integral part of the mix only in a very different way.
Born Nov. 15, 1941 into a musically entrenched family, Dickinson caught that first earth-shattering wave of rock and roll and rhythm and blues at about twelve or thirteen and stayed true to those roots until the end. Well-versed on piano, vocals and guitar, it only made sense that Jim ended up playing in bands by the mid-sixties. Along the way, spent some time studying drama at Baylor University in Texas, picked up a degree at Memphis State University and married Mary Lindsay Andrews.
To avoid any pretentious trappings later, I need to confess that I didn’t know Dickinson well at all. I met him briefly at a music store I worked at in 1974. He wandered in one frigid day looking around and didn’t stay long. We met, exchanged some words and he left shortly after that. Kind of an unassuming guy dressed in an eccentric art student manner, but not too much out of the norm for the MSU area. A coworker had to clue me in on who he was.
I knew the people he’d done sessions with, but when informed that he was a member of Mud Boy and the Neutrons, I freaked. Formed in 1972, Jim Dickinson, Lee Baker, Sid Selvidge and Jimmy Crosthwait made up MBN. Although a cover band that did mostly obscure blues tunes and not known for doing a lot of gigs, the few were controversial and had a huge buzz all over town. I’d seen Lee Baker play with Moloch at a battle of the bands back in junior high. That memory was stayed alive and well with me since. Sid Selvidge came from the folk/acoustic side with this gorgeous falsetto voice. Jimmy Crosthwait is/was known as one of the best puppeteers around and played washboard.
I never saw the band, but heard tales about sharing the bill with Furry Lewis, outlandish costumes and rhetoric that would embarrass a hooker. That band made such an impact on the local scene, guest appearances and reunions were common for years to come not to mention scores of bands that tried to follow in their footsteps. For as legendary as Mud Boy and the Neutrons were, the best of Jim Dickinson was yet to come.
Over the years, I kept up with Jim through friends as much as possible, but fell out of that loop by the early eighties. Towards the end of that decade, if other players found out I was from Memphis, the first question was if I knew Jim Dickinson. That
lead to long discussions about Dickinson’s production work with Big Star and The Replacements.
Most artists that worked with Jim will tell you that the beauty of his production is how little he actually does. Dickinson’s approach was more out to capture art rather than tearing it down and rebuilding to the producer’s or record label’s specifications. Dickinson produced FreeWorld’s latest CD “From the Bluff.” Bassist/vocalist, Richard Cushing recalls “Jim was definitely the producer and was there to facilitate the record. He was so relaxed with us, producing, but not producing. Almost as though we were producing ourselves with Jim acting more as a guide.”
For some quintessential Jim Dickinson, read the “production manifesto” from the zebraranch.com site for his insight on what production is all about.
In recent years, Dickinson became brutally verbal about our local music scene and especially about the tourist trap commercialization of Beale Street and lack of genuine blues. Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms was a close friend to Jim and sent me this.
“They have changed the once magical musical experience that was Beale Street into a generic alcohol experience that can be duplicated anywhere in the world.”
Brutal as it is at times, the truth hurts, but intentionally meant to set you free.
Dickinson could have made a decent living playing regularly on Beale Street being one of the closest connections we had to that genre. Instead, he saw the hypocrisy and stayed true to his convictions.
For me, this is in the same vein as a young Elvis defending his stage moves as “doing nothing wrong.” Or, Jerry Lee declaring that marrying his thirteen-year-old cousin was a common practice down south with that defiant, devilish grin on his face. Or Sam Phillips never admitting or regretting that selling Elvis’s contract to RCA for a menial amount was a mistake. When Jim Dickinson left this earth last Saturday morning, one of the last true Memphis rebellious spirits went with him.
I’ve always been fascinated with Jim Dickinson since his Mud Boy days. The more I read and heard from Jim, the more he became a hero to me. Richard Cushing pointed out that a lot of people complain about the shortcomings of our local scene. Most come across as whining. Jim Dickinson cut right to the point and called it what it is, but had answers to fix it and never gave up on it. He praised Memphis’ best of the best constantly.
Depending on whom you talk to, people close to Jim will tell you he was a sweet soul, passionate about his art and Memphis music who’s entire world revolved around his family. Others will say at times, that soul was viciously confrontational particularly in regard to anything that went against his core beliefs. It was pretty obvious that he mellowed considerably after the brutal murder of his close friend, Lee Baker in 1996 becoming more of a wise sage to those around him.
Dickinson left a treasure chest of great music true to what Memphis is all about. Although, his greatest legacy would easily be his sons, Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars. Drummer, Cody worked on my CD back in 1998 and I tried to shy away from too much talk about his dad for fear of that “son in the shadow of his father” syndrome. What I got was a slight grin and a gleam in their eyes every time I mentioned his name. I expected crazed, hill country white boy bohemians and what I saw were very polite and respectful boys that loved and admired their dad. Be proud Jim…you did good.
I had several chances to meet Jim Dickinson over the years, but chose not to. I
perceived him as one of those colorful, animated Memphis characters that kept the outside world fascinated with us as creative artists. If I’d seen or heard anything that contradicted that from him, it would have broke my heart. It happened when I worked for Jerry Lee Lewis and sadly, it changed the way I looked at him forever.
We’re running low on iconic figures like Jim Dickinson around here. Whatever changes our local society has gone through over the last four decades has tamed or beat us down and dulled that edge that made us what we once were. Richard Cushing laid it out plain and simple, “Jim was an iconoclast or shaman, maybe both.”
There’s some amazing You Tube video of Jim back in May at Minglewood Hall. Jim was in rare form while setting up the inspiration for the song “Hitler Lives” and dispelling the myth that it had anything to do with Aryan Nation idealism. These will have to serve as Jim’s swan song. Sadly, there’s also a video of a show back in May at Otherlands with Jim performing “Buffalo Skinner” barely audible due to how loud and disrespectful the crowd was. Almost, as if Jim Dickinson was human Muzac. Maybe, I just summed up the situation as it is.
Because Jim Dickinson stayed true to his art, that came with a price. There are medical bills that piled up and some recent fund-raisers held to try and ease that burden. If Bob Dylan and The Stones sincerely felt Dickinson was one of their own, I’m hopeful they’ll man up and help a “brother” out any way they can. The Memphis Music Commission did their part and much love to you for it.
Regardless, we’re so indebted to Jim Dickinson for keeping that colorful, Memphis spirit alive and well for so many years. Other than your presence here, you’ll be missed deeply in so many ways.
il Blues Magazine – Vol. #108 – September, 2009
POLVERE DI STELLE
Mix di errebi, funk, soul, rock e jazz con qualche buon spunto interessante in “From the Bluff” dei memphisiani FreeWorld (SwirlDisc 78453 630), dove presenziano, in un brano ciascuno, Luther e Cody Dickinson dei North Mississippi Allstars (Jim e il produttore) ed una delle coriste e la grande soul-woman Jackie Johnson. Una chicca e il bonus-track “Save Our Soul”, un soul veloce da manuale, interpretato da uno dei piu autentici soulmen rimasti, James Govan, di casa al Rum Boogie Cafe di Beale Street a Memphis.
The Blues Magazine – Vol. #108 – September, 2009
Mix of errebi, funk, soul, rock and jazz with some good cue interesting in “From the Bluff” from the Memphis band FreeWorld (SwirlDisc 78453 630), whith guests, in a song each, Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars (Jim is the producer) plus other choir members such as the large soul-woman Jackie Johnson. A goody and the bonus-track “Save Our Soul”, is a swift soul from manual, interpreted by one of the more authentic soulmen you rhymed, James Govan, of the house band at the Rum Boogie Cafe on Beale Street in Memphis.
DIXIE FRIED WITH THE HIGH PRIEST OF MEMPHIS MOJO
JIM DICKINSON INTERVIEW
By James Calemine
So, I’ve been paying attention. You’ve been busy lately. Hernando sounds great…
JD: Yeah, well I just finished a local band called FreeWorld—kind of a Grateful Dead with horns—a hippie band. We’ve been talking to each other for years. Finally the time came around to do it. Herman Green—he’s about 75—an old Memphis horn player—sax player—that Robert Palmer was very into his hippest band—just one old guy and a bunch of kids. I just finished that last week. That was fun. We got…since right after Hernando we did a three day super session with the Allstars, Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Jimbo Mathus.
Acoustic Rainbow Radio Sampler CD Promo Blurb
FreeWorld is a Memphis-based band, and they draw their primary musical
inspirations from all the flavors of Southern roots music they grew up
listening to in their hometown: R&B, Soul, Gospel & Blues. But they do more
than just combine influences – they meld them into a distinctive sound where
all the elements flow together in one dynamic stream of engaging music that
makes you dance & makes you feel good. “Keep Smilin'”, the lead cut from
their new CD “From the Bluff”, just rolls over you with a driving soul beat
and a happy message. Call today for the full-length CD.
I’m GIOVANNI PIETRO SCAZZOLA. I write from ITALY.
I found your music on the latest Acoustic Rainbow CD release I received recently here at the radio, this time as regarding the album From The Bluff by FREEWORLD. I’d like so much to receive also a copy, if and when it’s possible, to enrich so my radio program with other good music.
Hope having soon other good news.
Thanks a lot in advance and best regards.
Giovanni Pietro Scazzola
RADIO GOLD POPULAR NETWORK – ITALY