Review: Last December, Los Angeles combo Night Owls debuted on F Spot Records with a genuine 21st century rarity: a reggae-soul cover of Donny Hathaway's 'This Christmas', featuring lead vocals from the mighty Durand Jones. For their fourth single, they've decided to deliver another cover, this time of Young Rascals' cut 'Groovin'. Their sun-soaked, rocksteady style reggae take is apparently a homage to Willie Mitchell's cover (as sampled by Wu-Tang Clan), and features Jungle Fire man Jamie Allensworth singing majestically over a jaunty rhythm track rich in heady Hammond organ sounds and toasty bass. The band's brilliant arrangement and tight-but-languid performance naturally comes to the fore on the B-side Instrumental Mix.
Review: Once again Night Owls have cooked up a soul-stirring 45 with classic grooves and reggae rhythms from some of LA's finest. Dan Ubick of The Lions, Connie Price and the Keystones is on the guitar, Blake Colie plays drums, The Lions man Dave Wilder slaps the bass and Roger Rivas of The Aggrolites plays organ and piano. "Gossip" is a swaggering tune with sunny percussion and organic riffs that whip up all the right feelings. "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get" is another happy, bubbly tune with fine vocal acrobatics and a rhythm section that you never want to stop playing.
Brentford Rd Soul Rebels - "30-60-90" (feat Dennis Alcapone) (3:01)
Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts - "30-60-90" (2:42)
Review: This super limited 7" features four original Gravity label artists and serving up their own respective versions of one original. Prince Alfonso & The Fever kick off with fat-bottomed swagger and earthy dub funk grooves, and Nestor Alvarez flip the script with more Latin percussion and bossa-style grooves. Brentford Rd Soul Rebels take you to a hot summer's day with their reggae soundtrack, and last of all Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts lead with a big sax line and hip swinging tambourines that all come underpinned by big bass. Varied and vital, it's a small bit of wax but it packs a big punch.