Random Surprises: Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Good evening folks.

After a night of being fairly productive, I discovered my morning class was cancelled thanks to an impending SNOWMAGEDDON, meaning I could kick back and fuck around into the wee-hours of the morning. This session of fucking around led me to searching random terms on Grooveshark just to see what would turn up. Being the immature child I am, I obviously started by searching “titties” and “booty”. While “titties” turned up some amusing results (Read: Frank Zappa – Beer and Titties), it was “booty” that led me to this late-night post.

Searching “booty” led me to the song “Booty City” by Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, a band I had absolutely zero previous knowledge about. Clicking play, I was greeted by a welcome helping of funk laden guitar riffing, glorious brass sections and some good ole’ fashioned soul music. A quick session with wiki pointed me in the direction of their second full-length album, “Scandalous”, while letting me know they had even been on the late-night TV circuit, making me keep wondering how I missed out on these jams.

Judging from their 23K + Facebook likes, it seems like I’ve been the only one oblivious to the sick jams this Austin, Texas based quintet has been pumping out. Led by the titular Black Joe Lewis, they have been crafting their breed of funk, soul and blues since 2009. All of their influences ring clear, from the dark growls of Howlin’ Wolf to the funk energy of James Brown, resulting in an extremely infectious fusion of the holy trinity of music.

“Booty City” is the track that hooked me, so we might as well start there. Crisp and clean drum work is backed up by minimalist riffing and solid baseline, setting things up for that damn tasty horn section to kick in. Black Joe Lewis provides the vocals, paying homage to all the greats that came before him while still maintaining his own signature style. Sax solo’s, gang shouts and a hefty bassline are only half of the fun waiting for you on this track.

The rest of the album doesn’t stray too far from this formula of rump-rattling grooves. I’d say that funk wins out for most of the battles, as soul and blues are just being used to temper the unstoppable train of funk that’s been put into motion. “Scandalous” and “Messin'” showcase a solid blues rock side, with twangin’ guitars and a howling harp, giving an entire new depth to the album.

I could probably keep writing about this album until I pass out, so I’m just gonna cut things short while I’m still somewhat cohesive. Bottom line, these guys are sick and you should totally go listen to their music.

You can get “Scandalous” from iTunes for $13, which raises up one sole point of contention for me. That is a helluva lot of money for a digital album, even one that is this tasty. I don’t know who decided this price or why it’s so high but even at that price point, these are some damn fine tunes.

You’ll find all the regular links below as well as streams for “Mustang Ranch”, “Sugarfoot” and of course, “Booty City”

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears Facebook

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