About the name of the group, Godboogie. It’s not any sort of slight on a Supreme Being as we might conceive Him of Her. (I’m kind of having to hedge my bet a little here as it’s an incredibly sensitive subject.) The artist who put the group together is a Toronto based bandleader named Jerome Godboo, and he’s been kicking around the music world for some three decades.
He has assembled one kick-ass supergroup to play some of the grittiest blues, funk, and rock in some time. The album, Play Music & Dance on VizzTone is available now. Aside from Godboo taking on the lead vocals and the harp, he’s added accordion and percussion to his resume. He’s added Eric Schenkman, one of the founding members of The Spin Doctors on guitar; guitarist and bassy sounds are by Shawn Kellerman, a Blues Music Award-winner who has recently been out on tour with the Lucky Peterson Band; and drummer Gary Craig who is an in-demand session player who has toured with Bruce Cockburn as well as the stars from the ABC series Nashville.
Now that’s a line-up you can hang your hat on.
The album starts off with the title track, Play Music & Dance, a celebration of life. When it’s our time it’s too late to be joyous, so while we are on this Earth, we should play music and dance. Love the Zydeco feel of the accordion, I may have to pull out my washboard and play along next time. It’s a very cool song and an even better philosophy.
They follow up with the blistering Honey Badger, which features some stellar guitar work. This is a straight up old-time blues number with some killer vocals to go along with the guitars, and Godboo’s harp that just ties it all together. I look forward to playing this one on Time For The Blues.
A slow burning song, Wounded, is next, showing that the band is truly versatile as it has gone from joyous Zydeco to old-school blues, and finally ended up with a song of pure emotion. So far, this is the most vulnerable that the singer has gotten, and the harp adds to that feeling.
The band then moves to the longest song on the album, It’s A Party, which clocks in at about 7:30 on the clock and 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Godboo’s harp is smoking on the intro and the band kicks it into a funky high gear. It’s not straight blues, much more on the rock-funk side of the street, but I like it and think it’s a great dance tune.
The get back to the blues with the delicious number, Kitty. It’s a slow building song with some outstanding guitar work and some clever lyrics. I could hear this one being performed by a number of the classic Chicago performers in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.
The raucous song, So Far Away, follows and this a good hard-driving number. This is another one that will be appearing on the show shortly and will probably be making the rounds of just about every blues show.
Next up is Sign Of The Times, a solid slow building number that lets the singer step into the spotlight and open himself up to the audience. This is a great emotional song that blends guitar, harp, and voice beautifully. Craig’s drums keep a very steady heartbeat time that adds to the effect.
Dragon King starts off like a 1970’s funk tune, but Godboo’s harp gives it a strong blues bent. The lyrics are more mystical, more poetic than the others so far on the album. It’s a different kind of story, but pretty cool nonetheless. Hey, if Jim Morrison can be the Lizard King, why can’t Godboo be the Dragon King?
Next is The Way To Heaven, a song with a great deal of story in the lyrics. It continues the deeper feel of the previous song and has some lovely poetic imagery. The music is thinned down in comparison to most of the rest of the album, but that doesn’t detract from its emotion.
The mysticism and poetry gives way to a good time on Real Dude. It’s a lively party song with some funky guitar work laid over a rock beat. There’s even some scat singing involved during the dance break. I want to say it reminds me a little of Commander Cody, but that just might be me. Still, it’s a lot of fun.
The following song, Call On My Love, is a more soulful number than the others on the album. It’s not a bad song, they lyrics are very good, but something about this one just doesn’t click for me the way the others have so far.
Workshop gives Craig’s drums their best work out on the album. Godboo’s harp is sharp and the music is there, but lyrically I think it falls a little flat. I can see where it’s heading, but it just doesn’t seem to get there.
The band brings the album to a close with Tigers, Horses, Kings & Queens. It starts out low and lonely and shows great promise. I like the lyrics and the sparseness of the song is very appealing. Any song that quotes William Blake is one I’m going to enjoy. It shows to me that Godboo has a great deal of poetry inside of him and a spiritual side that comes out through his music. The song won’t be for everyone, but I’m glad I gave it a chance to grow on me.
This is another outstanding album from Canada. We’ve received so many of late that I might have to put together and entire show of artists from the Land of the Maple Leaf. The four guys that make up this supergroup wrote all of the material on the album with Godboo penning eight songs solo and collaborated on another three. Schenkman wrote two solo and co-wrote another two, and Kellerman collaborated on three.
The guys all have fairly busy schedules so I haven’t been able to zero in on any dates they might all come together, but I’m hopeful that they’ll pop up on a few festivals this year or next. In the meantime, I’m keeping my eyes peeled and my fingers crossed and hope we’ll see another record from them at some point in the future.