JD & the Evils

Written by Joe S. Harrington on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.

If you dig
the chronic, and are partial to funkified sounds of the downhome/homegrown variety
(as opposed to canned sassafras), then you probably should hear JD & the
Evil’s Dynamite Band. This record is the best approximation of drugs and
funk since vintage Funkadelic, and it was recorded just a few months ago. As
"live" sounding a "new" record as you’re likely to
ever hear again, it’s all part of the Soul Fire tradition, and this label
has put out nothing but winners so far. Specializing in the neo-funk, with pros
like Lee Fields on board, Soul Fire is dedicated to preserving the eternal thang
of the thang. That’s something a lot of today’s hiphoppers don’t
understand. They’re selling themselves short in every way possible, depriving
themselves of the organic process of making music. JD & the Evils have that
sound like they’re playing in a high school gym in Gary, IN, 1967. It’s
from that background that P-Funk hailed, and if you’re gonna honor thy
tradition you have to go back to the roots.

precisely what the band’s done. Listen to "Mean Scene," an hypnotic
jam based on a total Eddie-Hazel-stabbing-into-outer-space late-60s soul/psych
groove. This is funk rhythm-making at its finest, in every way on the same level
as JB or P-Funk and way better than Stevie Wonder or Isaac Hayes, even
when they were at their peaks. These guys really get it, and there are seldom
any bows to the non-funkified audience. These guys go about their work the same
way Sun Ra & His Arkestra or Clinton and his gang did–they just keep
going out there, and the results are stunning.

Precision is
what it’s all about. Listen to the way the bass leads the rhythm in the
aptly named "Beer, (So Nice) Right On": it’d be nice to hear
someone like Bushwick Bill rapping over it, but what JD & Co. are here to
say is that, for once, we’re gonna let the music do the talking. This is
the sound of a band jamming, and simply jamming. But they do it with such precision–such
ultracool elan–that it hardly ever gets old or hackneyed, even when they
do an obvious P-Funk psychedelic freak-out on "The Evil D’s."
It works, because P-Funk’s albums always had that too, and once again,
JD & his buddies are going for authenticity. Like the Chesterfield Kings
on their first album, constructing the garage-rock album that never was, the
Evils have come up with the great missing early 70s junkie soul LP.

One can easily
imagine a ’71 crash-pad setting for "Sunday Kind of Love." This
is the type of "sweet soul" that’s become popular lately once
again. Laid-back rhythms, a dopey atmosphere and flute leading the way–hell,
they used to play stuff like this in supermarkets. JD & the Evils
totally summon that vibe, of a lost afternoon somewhere in the past. It’s
not hokey like a lot of other retro escapades–these guys get all the subtle
nuances that made the music of that era so great, nuances that a lot of music
nowadays is missing.

of Darkness" roars with an organ so totally lo-fi it causes Velvet Underground
feedback. These guys are geniuses at handling the same rock and funk merger
that Funkadelic in their early days achieved. The flute once again leads the
way on "Backwards Intentions," and the band rocks along accordingly.
They use a lot of wah-wah and special effects, but the intrusion of digital
crap is minimal. The sound is raw and alive and full of soul.

As far as instrumental
bands go, these guys are as good as Booker T. & the MG’s and better
than the Crusaders. Something should be said about the label, too–they’re
definitely at the forefront of indie music-making–particularly black, but
not rap, indie music-making. As such, every record they put out is an important
one, and this one is no exception. Check out their website to find out more: