Dr. Rubberfunk Hot Stone Review

Album. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

The good doctor presents some amazingly elastic grooves.

Lloyd Bradley 2010

The beauty of Dr Rubberfunk’s 1970s/early-1980s revivalry is that he’s got the confidence – and the ability – to truly go for it. He doesn’t need to stir in too many modernisms, so what we’ve got is something as gloriously and as stupidly in your face as almost anything from those bygone days of funk.

There’s a marvellous looseness about Part of Me and Get Away that makes them sound like jam sessions, but you know everybody is completely aware of what they are doing – it’s a true essence of funk that only the very skilled can sound that casual. The good doctor is also totally at home with funk’s fundamental pointlessness, the notion that in order to work on the dancefloor tracks don’t need to be going anywhere, they just need to, well, be – or to quote George Clinton, funk is its own reward. Not that this means anything flimsy, as Rising Steps and Northern Comfort invoke southern soul at its gutsiest and groove-iest, while Trouble Woman (featuring a welcome return from Andrew Roachford) is rhythm and blues in the purest sense, it’s basically blues with a lot of rhythm.

Another big part of what makes this work is that Rubberfunk seems to understand the sheer randomness of so much good soul music, meaning no thought need remain unexpressed and pretty much any stylistic idea is a good one. Hence jazz/funk, and tracks on this set like Magic Beans and Theme From Hot Stone, each dedicated to showing off but never neglecting their fundamental danceable purpose.

The only cloud on this otherwise pleasingly funkified horizon, is Dutch chanteuse Sitzka: she features on four tracks yet she is hopeless – no range, no strength and no real clue of how to approach these songs. Which is a shame, but it shouldn’t be allowed to detract too much from Dr Rubberfunk’s amazing elastic grooves.

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