Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A Play Along Record? or, "Groove in Search of Melody For Rom
Your Pet Poodle | Twin Cities, MN | 06/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"All groove and no (or very little) melody made Stuff a boring band. I guess it takes a brass pair to call attention to the white elephant in the room, but these 'tunes' sound incomplete -- like rhythm beds laid down for another session, when a horn player or singer will come in and finish business.
It brings me no joy to slag a group that featured, among others, the late, great Richard Tee, but these squeaky-clean grooves go nowhere. There's some outlandish playing by Tee on "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" (live) that heats things up a bit, but generally the Stuff boys play as though they had to be on their best studio manners.
Instrumental music, in case it escaped anyone's attention, is usually defined by its themes and melodies. From the Venture's "Walk, Don't Run", to Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High", to Focus' "Sylvia", strong melodies make the music recognizable. Duh. Take away the head from "Groovin' High", and you've got a Jamie Abersold record. The rhythm section contributes much to defining 'style', but sans melody, it is only one piece of the whole. Stuff didn't seem to get this, for reasons unbeknownst to me. Maybe it was their polite, polished, studio sensibilities. Maybe it was the gravity of the disco era, which pared music down to a dance beat. Whatever it was, it didn't produce memorable music from Stuff.
There are a few other bones to pick here. How is it that two B.B. King influenced guitarists can't serve up the playing of one B.B. King? It really doesn't matter that Eric Gale was an "intonation nut" (from Chris Parker's liner notes), when all we heard from him was warmed over, passionless blues licks. The singing of Gordon Edwards and (Lord, forgive me) Richard Tee is bad enough to make one wish that Stuff would resume its unremarkable program of grooves. And while the near total absence of melody has been noted, Stuff was not much in the harmony department either. Stock i/IV jams are frequent, and the gospel changes which occasionally are employed are pretty pedestrian.
Well, I guess I done rained on the parade. Five stars, always and forever, for Richard Tee. Two for Stuff."