Listening to Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears is like taking a time machine back to when James Brown first started wailing and strutting with the funk.
Joe and company have an uncanny knack for attaining a gritty, authentic sound that is effortless in its ability to channel the spirit of classic roots grooves. Scandalous ranges from hard-hitting get-down numbers, like the rollicking opening track, “Welcome to the Jungle,” to an achingly soulful R&B cover of Ivory Joe Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby,” and even an acoustic blues ditty, “Messin’,” that recalls classic Exile On Main Street-era Stones. The common denominator here is good taste, which comes through on all 11 tracks.
If you enjoyed their acclaimed 2009 release Tell ’Em What Your Name Is, chances are you’ll appreciate this effort, which is a continuation of the same good times vibe. And if you’re new to the band, welcome to the party. Now kick off your shoes.
Scandalous is out now on Lost Highway Records.