Greenskeepers - Pleetch
Wed 24th Nov, 2004 Music Reviewsin
Chicago’s Greenskeepers are back with their second album, following 2002’s eclectic long-player The Ziggy Franklin Radio Show. They have managed to craft together a very song-based collection of Jazz, Funk, Soul and House with contributions from some of the mainstays of Chicago’s House music scene.
The Greenskeepers have managed to create themselves a very unique sound, probably due to the four members’ diverse backgrounds and musical talents. They are more like a band who work with guest musicians than a studio production outfit so their work has a more organic and live edge to it, more associated with a rock act than a club oriented dance act.
Between them they contribute live vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards. Drum programming is provided by DJ James Curd who is also involved with three labels, G-Swing, Igloo and the bands own Greenskeepers Music. Co-founder and German based Nick Maurer takes care of vocals while Mark Share and Coban Rudish provide over 10 years of experience and their keyboard/bass guitar skills.
The album opens with the keyboard funk of Yes and is followed by the downbeat Chi-town lock-groove of You Don’t Know Me, featuring the vocal talents of Chicago based Diz Washington of Iz & Diz fame. The sublime and jazzy Epiphany is next up and then Slippin’, a phat club house jam brings us to first single Filipino Phil, a tongue-in-cheek ditty about midgets that proves that these guys never take themselves too seriously.
Next single Keep It Down is a slow building deep houser with velvety vocals provided by another Chicago DJ Colette, with a very Tom Middleton Cosmos feel to it. This is followed by the vocoder funk and Detroit synth sound of Warm And Dry before another slice of humour in the Silence of the Lambs influenced Lotion, with its Talking Heads similarities. The album rounds out with the down tempo Latin sounds of Dots and a bizarre cover of Christopher Cross’ tune Sailing.Some have called this music Hillbilly House but nobody can deny that with its stand-up bass licks, brassy horns and down-home guitar twanging boompty beats there is something eclectic and catchy about these guys. They’ve said their influences range from Frank Zappa and early P-Funk to Jazz and Disco and this is clearly evident in their production work. Maybe not for everyone but worth a listen.