WILL NOT BE TELEVISED - The Solution (Wild Kingdom)
Like the previous album released with the same monicker, The Solution’s new one will be another “record of the year”. For those who had lost the previous “chapter” I’ll make a brief summary: in 2004 legendary Detroit’s musician Scott Morgan (leader of the Rationals in the 60’s and founding member the Sonic' s Rendezvous Band in the 70’s – along with Fred "Sonic" Smith, husband of Patti and former MC5 guitarist) decided to convert a dream into reality: forming a band with Hellacopters’ singer/guitarist Nick “Royale” Andersson.
Scott flew to Sweden where Nicke had gathered a bunch of talented local musicians: in a few weeks The Solution's debut-album “Communicate!” was ready. It was a wonderful record full of good vibes and passionate music expressed through 12 beautiful songs (between originals and covers).
It took four years to find the right time to record a new The Solution’s album since Scott was busy with the Hydromatics and Powertrane, Nick with his own projects. But, eventually, they made it and their new album is out now. It’s called “The Solution Will Not Be Televised” and it's re-started the “musical speech” exactly where it had been interrupted with “Communicate!”: it’s “old school” soul music, if it was released 30 years ago it would be on Stax Records for sure!
In this new effort the band seems even more conscious of its expressive formula and the 11 songs here included are incredibly beautiful. It starts with “You Gotta Come Down”, a Nicke Royale’s song, then it puts together groundbreaking original songs (Scott Morgan’s “Somebody” and “Happiness” plus Andersson’s “You Never Liked Me Somehow”) and fantastic covers: from Albert King’s “Had You Told It Like It Was” to Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson’s “Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries”; from an Ike and Tina Turner’s “You Got What You Wanted” powerful version to Fantastic Four’s “Can't Stop Looking For My Baby”; from “Hijackin’ Love”, a song that Scott Morgan has always sang during the years, to the fabulous Staple Singers’ “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” and Clarence Carter’s “Funky Fever”.
The musical elements to make this songs collection a great album are all in there: the guitars draw splendid geometries, the horn section blows like there’s no tomorrow, the female voices give the songs a fascinating sexy dress. Then it’s Scott with his powerful and passionate “black” voice who unite all the songs as a “fil rouge”.
It’s likely that, as the album’s title ironically says, “The Solution will not be televised”. So the only way to enjoy this wonderful record is buying it. Once in your CD player you’ll be conquered. And you won't be able to do without it. - Roberto Calabrò
COMMUNICATE! - The Solution (Wild Kingdom)
There are many better qualified people to review this. Like those who grew up in the '60s up with a first-hand acquaintance with soul music - the real stuff, not the emaciated, passionless puff that passes for "R & B" on mainstream radio today. They'll twig to this album in the blink of an eye. Maybe you're one of them, in which case you need to snare a copy, post-haste. The rest of us will listen on, in admiration and wonder.
Scott Morgan's one of the people who taps the source. The original purveyor of Green-Eyed Soul . A teenage prodigy who fronted Michigan's best garage-cum-soul, white boy act, The Rationals, he's lived a dozen lives in as many bands since. But even the hardest-edged of them had a streak of soul a mile wide running through the plumage. It's there in Morgan's passion-laden vocals, or under-rated guitar-work. Then there's his own considerable songwriting skills, not to mention his ability to claim someone else's well-worn tune and make it sound like his own. No mistaking it.
The Rationals might have been his original vehicle, but Scott's more widely-known for being an integral and founding member of Sonic's Rendezvous Band (actually The Scott Morgan Band in its earliest incarnation). Years after their demise, this antecedent brought a brash young bunch of Swedes called The Hellacopters into his orbit.
The bridge from there to the soul connection may not be immediately obvious. The 'Copters are knee-bending, string-stretching hard rockers - but also explorers of other genres (anyone make the Southern rock connection on "Grande Days"?). So Nicke Royale's collaboration with an inspiration like Scott Morgan makes perfect sense.
The Solution is a hard-boiled, soul band (and you'd probably guessed as much.) Lots of pretenders shoot for the authentic sound: valve amps, dry drums and girl back-ups. They go listen to some scratched 45s, rent a Hammond B3, maybe overdub some horns. Few catch the real essence, the stuff they don't serve on tap. You can't fake this.
Ironically, a few of the contemporary acts that go closest hail from Scandinavia. Underrated Bad Afro outfits like Baby Woodrose and The Royal Beat Conspiracy give a distinct nod to the past and combine some roll with their rock. The Solution do all that and more, with great songs and an understated yet pure production ethos that makes you wonder why Scott didn't go this far back before.
Ten originals (evenly split between Morgan and Royale) and two choice covers - Tony Joe White's moody "Widow Wemberly" and "Must Be Love Coming Down" (Major Lance, out of Curtis Mayfield) - that strike a balance between soulful rockers (Morgan's "Get on Back") and restrained pleas ("Top of the Stairs"). Be damned if Nicke's "I Have to Quit You" isn't song of the year (it's already Top Five in Sweden). The arrangements are rich with horns, backing vocals and keyboards that never crowd Scott's measured vocals (which are mixed right up front).
Let's not underplay Nicke Royale's role here. Brash guitar rock might be his claim to fame but there was a time when he was a drummer (notably for The Entombed). His solid work on the traps can't be faulted here - nor his ability to summon up a band of seasoned and sympathetic players.
Someone whose opinion I respect reckons Scott's been putting out the same album for years - but it's a great one. That's a comment about the guy's great consistency and the unaffected and honest nature of his music. The signs are there that, finally, the wider world is waking up to it.
Not much need to say more, except that this is a timeless album that young bands ought to listen to before they step near a stage. Not a wasted note, so waste no time in procuring a copy. - The Barman
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