JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

[Alligator Records]

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

There was a time when James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone and Otis Redding and all of Motown roamed the airwaves and Funk, Soul and R&B were a part of the overall sonic fabric, and it was good. JJ Grey might not be old enough to remember those days from firsthand experience but when he writes and records (under the banner of JJ Grey & Mofro), the Florida native sounds like he could have been a grizzled old veteran sideman on any Soul session in the ’60s.

On their fifth album, Georgia Warhorse, Grey and Mofro don’t stray far from their established manifesto as they continue to inject their contemporary version of Southern Rock with massive doses of classic Soul set to the funkiest backbeat imaginable.

Grey’s vocal range is just one of Mofro’s many potent weapons; he shifts from a gutteral Captain Beefheart growl to a Chris Robinson howl to a Delbert McClinton moan without a hitch. And Mofro is steeped in the Soul and R&B of the ’60s and ’70s, meaning they can smoke any groove that Grey conceives and make it sound authentic enough that even the most astute listener may just lean into the speaker as they try to decipher whether this is a new recording or some long lost vault nugget from more than 40 calendars ago.

For those who require extra incentive, Reggae superstar Toots Hibbert provides vocals on “The Sweetest Thing” and Derek Trucks nails some incendiary slide work on “Lullaby,” but Mofro doesn’t really need star power to sell Georgia Warhorse. This is the real damn Rock and Soul deal.