Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears: Tell ‘em What Your Name Is!

Okay, here’s a quick question for anyone who may still be left unawares: which recent event helped to significantly narrow the racial divide? That is, what event other than the election of America’s first Black president? Give up? How about the first release by an African American artist on that esteemed Americana label, Lost Highway? It may not seem so significant at first glance, but with first listen, this debut disc by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears confirms the suspicions most folks knew along – that pure, unfettered, classic R&B is as much a part of American roots music as any other style borne from the heartland. And while prefacing his moniker with “Black” may seem like he’s expressing the obvious, Lewis’ ability to summon the spirit of classic R&B by invoking the power and passion of James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding is awesome and impressive in itself. These ten tracks echo the sound of pure ‘60s soul, from the full-on funk of “Gunpower” and “I’m Broke” to the rock-steady shuffle underpinning “Master Sold My Baby” and the cool groove steering that “Sugarfoot.” With his band of twenty-somethings holding sway – think Booker T & the MGs and the sound of Stax Records – Lewis’ impassioned howl offers a sure sign he’s learned his lessons well. And if some of the songs reinforce certain stereotypes – “Big Booty Woman, “Get Yo Shit” and “Humpin’” being among them – suffice it to so that like his influences, Lewis isn’t timid when it comes to expressing raunchiness or wickedness. This Papa may not have a brand new bag, but he’s getting a lot of use out of it all the same. Lost Highway

Black Joe Lewis MySpace page


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