COOKIN’ ON 3 BURNERS: Soul Messin’ (Label: Freestyle Records)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • COOKIN’ ON 3 BURNERS: Soul Messin’ (Label: Freestyle Records)
COOKIN' ON 3 BURNERS: Soul Messin'

Cookin’ On Three Burners are an Australian organ-led soul-funk trio. They comprise Jake Mason on organ, Ivan Khatchoyan on drums and Lance Ferguson on guitar. Ferguson – arguably the hardest working player in Australia (the Bamboos, Lanu and more besides) – has used his network to bring in some top brass players, a wonderful percussionist, fine backing singers and two exceptional lead singers to augment the trio’s basic sound, so that this new 12 tracker takes the feel of the band’s debut ‘Baked, Broiled Or Fried’ to another level altogether. That’s not to say that they’ve totally eschewed the sparse soul-jazz trio sound. Far from it – there’s plenty of that on offer. ‘Four ‘N’ Twenty, for instance, is standard for that genre, ‘Tokyo Saucer’ offers more of the same (though the bass is more prominent) while ‘Goose It Up’ is loose and percussive. Even the trio’s take on Gary Numan’s electro hit ‘Cars’ works remarkably well. Of the other instrumentals ‘Piranha’ is as sharp as the title implies, ‘Dog Wash’ echoes the sparseness of New Orleans funk, the LP’s title cut takes a leaf from the likes of ‘Sock It To ‘Em JB’, while the slowie that is ‘The Proving Grounds’ harks back to 60s organ-led beat groups (think the Animals or Procul Harum). However, it’s the big vocals that makes this collection so irresistible. First featured vocalist is Fallon Williams. He leads on ‘Hole In My Pocket’ – a sort of Dyke and the Blazers pastiche. His other contribution is ‘Seen Through Your Disguise’ and if someone told you it had been recorded in Muscle Shoals in 1969 rather than Melbourne in 2009, you’d believe them! That then leaves the two cuts featuring the seemingly ubiquitous Kylie Audlist. Her first is the insistent funk opener ‘Push It Up’ … sparse, tight and beefed up with great, punchy brass. Her second is the LP’s best straight soul cut – indeed ‘This Girl’ is one on the best soul tunes you’ll come across anywhere this year. It’s mid-tempo and much gentler than the rest of the album and boasts a melody that’s the catchiest of ear-worms and Kylie nails it perfectly. No wonder it’s already being played out by the most discerning of soul radio spinners. It’s the cherry on this tastiest of soul-jazz-funk confections.
(BB) 4/5