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My PR Release For True Groove All STars Upcoming “Fully Re-Covered”

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(I am very good friends with True Groove Records owner Tomas Doncker, so when he asked me to write the Press Release for True Groove Records Fully Re-Covered, I was happy to comply. Particularly since I loved it so much.  The alvbum will be released Tuesday and here is my PR! -IL)

Before recording their epic version of Brinsley Schwarz’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout ) Peace, Love And Understanding” last November, the members of the Tomás Doncker Band met in a conference room near the studio to discuss their feelings about the ongoing rioting in Ferguson, Missouri following the acquittal of police officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The band’s response as documented in the lead song off the True Groove AllStars‘ sophomore release Fully Re-Covered, was a nuanced anger and bewilderment, a taking of a modern anthem and transforming it into a statement of not racial solidarity, but human solidarity.

Fully Re-Covered, The True Groove All-Stars follow-up to their hugely successful remix debut, Funky World, retains the concept of the True Groove Records roster of stars working through previously known material, and adds even more awareness of the source material. The All-Stars 13 track Fully Re-Covered, has a brace of songs from the mid-1970s to early 1980s, a catch as catch can from the 1960s, a reggae masterpiece and an anthemic singalong to end the set.

The wonder of this collection is how the True Groove All-Stars manage to remain true to their source material, yet still make the songs do what they do. Marla Mase’s version of Ian Dury’s “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, maintains the rhythm and adds the stick with a provocative and sexually charged 50 Shades Of Stunning; Heather Powell changes Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” from a post punk self-help manual to a hot slow fuse r&b seduction; Kevin Jenkins accentuates the loneliness of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” by including low harmonies in an act of re-covering so complete it is as if the folks on the telephone lines are equally alone; the youngest member here, soul singer Lael Summer accentuates her California realignment with LA electronic band The Neighborhood’s 2012 release, “Wires”; in what is the most surprising take of all, the horn section swings through the Tom Jones’ standard “It’s Not Unusual” while Charlie Funk underplays the song almost shyly; the Tomás Doncker Band responds to its opening salvo with the Mighty Diamonds unanswerable “Why Me Black Brother,Why?” which Lael responds to with Hall and Oates’ “Do What you Want, Be Who You Are”. Two straight covers, a lovely take on the Psychedelic Furs “Love My Way” by Touchy Feely and Samuel Claiborne’s Nine Inch Nails’ via Johnny Cash “Hurt” with every single word deeply felt, is a change of pace by remaining the same pace. Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” slowly changes into a testament and a testify for Kevin Jenkins; James Chance does what he does best, a skronking jazzercise funked out take on his main man James Brown’s “ I Don’t Want Nobody”. The entire album concludes with a mammoth singalong to Curtis Mayfield’s “We’re A Winner”.

The True Groove All-Stars, each of them, Tomás Doncker, Marla Mase, Kevin Jenkins, Heather Powell, Samuel Claiborne, all of them, are stars in their own right, and to have them come together to re- conceptualize some of the best songs you have ever heard is a joy not to be missed; in 2014 they re-mixed, in 2015 they have re-covered: what began as a response to a riot has become a response to loving music and loving life.

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