"Moving On," the latest offering from nine piece Soul/R&B band Lights Out By Nine, should come with a government health warning. The contents of this album may cause you to have a seriously good time, and lead to major outbreaks of dancing. This is powerhouse Soul/R&B delivered with real punch. It's all original stuff too, penned by lead singer Al Hughes, who belts out the songs with real feeling. Hughes also has an ear for a great hook line which will have you joining in on several songs, even on the first listen.
The band serve notice of their intentions with the opening "I Came To Dance." All the ingredients for great R&B music are there and Lights Out By Nine show that they have the recipe for blending them all together. Before you can get your breath back they launch straight into the excellent "Who's Gonna Be Your Hoochie Coochie Now." It has a groove reminiscent of some of the Isley Brothers' best stuff, and the way that the horns add weight to the chorus helps to make this one of the album's outstanding tunes.
Although "Moving On" is a fairly eclectic collection of Soul/R&B styles and influences, the end result never sounds disparate. So, the bump'n'grind of "It's A Soul Thing," for example, sits comfortably alongside the New Orleans funk (Lee Dorsey/Neville Brothers) of "Workin' On It". The latter song features some excellent Hammond Organ by Graham Key.
Pick of the bunch is "Real Love," one of the best songs I've heard this year. It shows Al Hughes has some of that magic songwriting ingredient which Steve Cropper, Isaac Hayes and David Porter possessed at their peak. The horns provide the fanfare for the extra special tune, which recaptures a 60's soul feel without ever sounding dated.
"Do What You Can" rounds it all off in style. Hughes starts out accompanied by just guitar and bass, before being joined by the drums and some rousing Blues harp. The Hammond organ follows, and then, just so nobody feels left out, the horns step in to make things swing. Before it all gets out of hand, however, the band thins out once more, and the song fades to a close.
There aren't many bands around making music like this, and doing it as well as this. "Moving On" should be high on your list of purchases for 1999. It is an absolute belter of an album, that is guaranteed to get people moving--buy it now, and play it LOUD to ensure that your end of millennium party is a rip-roaring success.
Lights Out By Nine: http://webspace.dialnet.com/phadd_zoom/
Order the CD by contacting Dougie Hunter: firstname.lastname@example.org
This review is copyright © 1999 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.