The band Mama SpanX, which New York has as a base, has not existed for so long. Somewhere in 2015, Nikki Armstrong and Ben Beckley laid the foundations for the band. Their collaboration goes back to Los Angeles, where they combined songwriting and producer work together. Nikki, originally from Riverhead, Long Island, moves to Boston and then Los Angeles for her music study. In addition to her music studies, she develops her dance and acting talents. After her study she settles in New York where she forms Whole Lotta Blues, The Nikki Armstrong Project and the tribute project Just Janis. With various relics on her name Blues and Jazz, Live at BB King's, Turnin '& Burnin', New, Borrowed & Blue and her penultimate release from 2012 Now and Then it's high time to join forces again with drummer,
This originally jazz drummer has been behind the boilers since he was eleven, studied music at the Berklee School of Music and Manhattan School of Music and has since then been involved in countless bands in the genre rock, soul, funk, blues, country, latin and even Irish music played. In Steve Johnson, both find the ultimate guitarist. Johnson, who started playing guitar in 1963, shared the stage with Paul Butterfield, Johnny Copeland, Paul Schaeffer, Albert Collins, Little Jimmy King, Jaco Pastorious, Fernando Saunders, Leslie West, Little Mike, Hubert Sumlin, Nikki Armstrong, Popa Chubby and Michael Hill. In addition to his three self-management productions with the powerblues trio The Tanks and three albums for Virgin Records he has five albums under his own name for the French Dixiefrog label to his name. The equally experienced Julie Sax-Woodwinds and Steve Sadd are responsible for the copper work. Keyboardist Harlan Spector and bassist David Abercrombie complete the band. An ensemble that has a broad background and also propagates this in the chosen repertoire, in which rock, soul, funk and pop come together in mostly written pieces.
The crackling of an old gramophone record announces the first song Rocket and that's how we quickly get to know the delicious, almost raw sounding voice of Nikki Armstrong, who has a solid soulful funk performance of the song. Both Steve's let themselves be heard briefly on a solo level and it is clear, here is a close team at work. The same plan is a bit extended in Wild Emotion and the very groovy sounding Crawl . This path is abandoned in the pounding rocker Being Beautiful and then the tempo is lowered in Wrong Side Of The Garden, in which there is plenty of room for excellent bluesy guitar work from Steve Johnson, as we know him from his Dixie Frog albums. Soon the pace is restored and the band puts down a funky performance of Alligator Boogaloo . Also Thinkin ' is in this genre, but where the first tends towards blues, slide there Thinkin' more like a poppy embodiment in which solo space for Hammond Player Harlan Spector and guitarist Steve Johnson. Anywhere You Are is an absolute resting point on this album, this ballad is mainly based on the piano playing of Harlan Spector and therefore gives all the space to the great singer Nikki Armstrong. Then we have already landed again at the last track, State of Groove, the title says enough and just the deep tones from the six-string fretless bass by David Abercrombie guarantee the groove that spouts the speakers. A fine album, that has the necessary variation and makes us acquainted with a close company that knows how to connect various styles in a tasteful way.
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