Founded by sax man Ben Mendes and drummer Toon Oomen, The Eminent Stars are a Europe-based soul, funk and blues instrumental combo who take their inspiration from the music of New Orleans in the 60s and 70s. On their new 13 tracker there’s plenty of their Meters-inspired workouts – notably the opening ‘Ben’s Dungeon’ and the feisty and sparse ‘Jumping Beans’. However bringing real variety and freshness to the Eminent Stars’ sound is a team of vocalists who notch up the soul quotient no end.
American Bruce James guests on the bluesy, down-home ‘A Good Woman’ and the Southern styled ‘Hearts Are Jumping’. His voice has just the right amount of gruff edge to make the tunes convincing. Lana Gordon’s out front on the scratchy funk of ‘Write Me’ while the simply named Imelda takes lead on ‘Ready To Fly’… maybe a little too rocky for soul sensibilities. However, died-in-the-wool soul folk will have no problems with ‘The Club’. Big and boisterous, the lead vocal’s handled by Steffen Morrison and the cut’s a great Northern soul pastiche… one of the most authentic recreations I’ve heard in a long while. I tell you if it was burned onto a 7″ 45 and covered up you could kid anyone that it was a long lost Loma or Mirwood classic. Morrison also features on the country soul of ‘Smokey One’. That leaves the LP’s oddity…’Voodoo Do Mar’. This one’s fronted by Aricia Mess and its slippery, snaky sound is a proper New Orleans gumbo.
The album was recorded in just a few days on vintage equipment and what ‘Sittin In With The Eminent Stars’ lacks in polish and finesse is made up for in enthusiasm and commitment. The album comes in CD, limited edition vinyl (500 copies only!) and as a download with bonuses. Find out more @ www.tramprecords.com