WHAT IT IS
SWIRL DISC SD 87625 445
DEEPER BY THE MINUTE–FIND A BETTER WAY–SHRIMP ‘N’ GRITS–DINJA BABE–IT’S ALRIGHT–FOR THE MOMENT–THE SHAPE I’M IN–SIDESWIPED–ANOTHER SUNDAY NIGHT–BELIEVE–EVE WAITS
FreeWorld describe themselves as an “independent, regionally-touring, ever-evolving, Memphis-based musical ensemble” who have been performing as a unit since 1987. That 30-year celebration coincides with the release of their seventh album overall, “What It Is.”
The group formed back then when bassist Richard Cushing met sax legend Dr. Herman Green. The band’s many influences are all over this collection, including Tower Of Power, Grateful Dead, Coltrane, Booker T., Zappa, The Meters, Steely Dan, and many more diverse outfits. These originals take the listener up and down Beale St. with some serious funk, jazz, blues, R & B, and even an Eastern-influenced tune.
Let’s get down to what it REALLY is. The set starts with the horn-driven funk of “Deeper By The Minute,” then gives way to the socially-conscious explosiveness of “Find A Better Way,” where we learn to “celebrate, don’t separate,” and “every day is a gift.” “Beatle-esque harmonies and backing vocals from Memphis icon Jody Stephens drive the dreamy “Dinja Babe,” while Stephani McCoy is the guest vocalist on the jazz-themed, “Believe.”
Our favorite was easy. Capturing the very spirit of Memphis blues, and, more specifically, Beale Street, “Another Sunday Night” is a stone party from B. B.’s, down ta Blues City Cafe and every joint in between! Add in some killer tenor work, and you’ll see why they call him “Dr. Green!”
FreeWorld funks up the rock, and rocks up the funk. They’ve cooked up a serious Memphis soul stew on Bobby Flay’s cooking show, and, they are a Beale Street institution, and they have their own Brass Note on the Beale Street Walk Of Fame as proof of their excellence in all things music. Satisfy your soul, and find out “What It Is” all about from FreeWorld. Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.