THE HANDS Everything is Wonderful Hi-Fi Doley-T (MGM/Planet)
This sophomore effort from the Doley brothers’ guitar-less soul/funk band has finally appeared; fourteen original tunes (by either Clayton or Lachlan) that cook on a fairly laid-back slow boil way. No Clay-tones per se this time around (Jade McRae, and Mahalia Barnes are otherwise occupied, but Juanita Tippens is still on board!), but the songs are all good “full” examples of their soulful genre. Once again, the lack of guitar is NOT missed as the two keyboards fill in all the instrumental spaces that exist in this hour of good music.
With a variety of bassists (Tim Curnick, Adam Ventoura, James Hazelwood, Phil Stack [upright], Ben Rogers) and drummers (Declan Kelly, Dave Hibbard, Matt Morrison), the brothers lay out a great musical buffet for your ears. Compared to the first album, there’s more soul and less hard funk on offer here: Personally, I find the second half of the CD the more attention-grabbing than the first, but it’s all that good!
While the hard-hitting impact and uniqueness of their first album can’t be repeated here, Clayton and Lachlan (& co.) acquit themselves nicely. One could almost “see” the band at The Club Baby Grand in Harlem, and that’s high praise, indeed!! Like I say… they cook. Well produced (this one is more of a “studio” album), written, and performed, this band is (to quote Duke Ellington) “beyond category”, and that ain’t all that common these days, is it?! Go get this one – the boys are on the right track and deserve your support – also, catch them at one of their gigs for “live” music is where it’s at!! Just don’t wear yourself out on the dance floor! This is your last warning!
PETER B. LOWRY [RHYTHMS – unpub]