Gedeon Luke and the People – Live Free and Love – Rating 5 out of 5

gedeonlukeThe first album to receive 5 out of 5 stars, Live Free & Love, the debut from platter from Gedeon Luke will live up to its billing,and then some!  Laying down the stone soul vibe of James Brown, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and Sly and the Family Stone thrown on top the swagger of Prince, you have a record that just might catch your turntable on fire.

Growing up on the meaner streets of Memphis, Luke devoted his energy to music, church and family to stay out of trouble and lay down a spiritual foundation for his life and his music. Live Free & Love was recorded in a Memphis studio “Live Style” with just Gedeon, his band, and special guests laying down and recording the groove live-style.

The record opens with “Lend Me Your Sunshine,” a feel-good number that starts with a Prince sultry vibe and ends as a Michael Franti tinged romp. This one is a real ear-opening “hey I like this, who is it” sort of moment. Simply put, song number two, “Standing on Top of the World” is a Soul burner of epic old-school proportions. When Gedeon asks for the band to give him a beat and the horns kick in, you are going to have to check yourself to make sure you have not been hot tub time machined back to 1965 in the middle of a concert at the Apollo Theater courtesy of the love child of James Brown and Curtis Mayfield.

“Hey (That’s What I Say)” is a good time Sunday morning gospel feel good number, and “Echoes” name checks just about every major musical force over a bed of Sly and the Family Stone.  You’ve got to remember how you got here indeed. Stevie Wonder enters the fray five songs in with the rousing and inspiring “Live Free,” and Gedeon goes low and slow Al Green with “Hurting Kind.” And don’t sleep on “Soul Child” which is pure “Dirty Mind” Prince at his sultriest.  “She’s so Superfly, she’s so fine.”

If you are a fan of Soul (old or new or neo), or just appreciate great, inspiring music, this one is a must-have addition to your musical library. There is nothing not to like on this record.

Is it possible the best album of the year has already been released in the first month of the year. It is quite possible, and Live Free & Love just might be the one.  Stay tuned.

In the studio