Monday, 4 February 2008

CD Review - Root Doctor

Change Our Ways
Big O

By M.D. Spenser

Root Doctor’s web site declares that the band offers “Blues for what ails ya!” And it’s true.

This enjoyable album offers ’70s-era Blues, soul, R&B and bit of funk – mostly designed not to make you feel blue but to make you feel better.

Root Doctor is not a person, by the way; it’s the name of the band. The album features the vocals of Freddie Cunningham who, though long in the tooth, still sings a soulful song.

But the band’s sound is defined largely by the funky Hammond B3 organ of Jim Alfredson. Add to that some fine guitar, cool backing vocals and a tasty horn section – two trumpets, a trombone and a sax – and what more could you ask for?

Most of the cuts are originals, but there’s nothing very new about them. They include lots of familiar riffs, but they’re great ones, well-played.

And the lyrics don’t break new ground, either. The first cut namechecks Muddy Waters and Freddie King. On cut 2, ‘Root Doctor’, the band namechecks itself. But that’s OK. Root Doctor is better uptempo with conventional lyrics than when it slows things down and reaches for meaning.

‘Keep Our Business Off The Streets’, for example, is a fine song, good beat, great backing chorus, highly danceable – a guy’s ultimatum to his girlfriend to keep things private or the relationship is through. You almost have to sing along.

Root Doctor might not be cutting edge but, gosh, it’s good fun.

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