Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Barley Soup for the Funky-Ass Soul by Big Wheel & the Spokes

Barley Soup for the Funky-Ass Soul cover art

Artist: Big Wheel & the Spokes
Title: Barley Soup for the Funky-Ass Soul
Catalogue Number: Murderfly Records
Review Format: EP
Release Year: 2006

Oh, says one reviewer to another - you might like this one. If you ever wondered where all the music that we review comes from then the answer is from everywhere. Through the post, by email and through recommendation. So it was that this 5 track release from Canadian band Big Wheel & the Spokes found itself the subject of a review.

If this band were from the west coast then this would no doubt have been collection of slick but soulless jazz funk tunes. However, things are done differently on the eastern seaboard. There is no doubting how well these guys play together but the sound here is a lot harder and more urban. Just the thing to get you up on your feet with Frank Deresti (he also plays with the Granola People) laying down some fierce but fluid bass lines. "Buttah, Buttah" is a 100% overheated 4 in the morning downtown club dance floor filler with Jay Case's vocals reminding this Bluesbunny of New York master funksters Big Baby Ernie. The winner, however, is the last song "Why Not Try". The emotion in the vocals, those expressive - even mournful -  guitar riffs just take you out the door into the dawn. It is an excellent choice to end an EP or even a night out in the city.

No computer/sequencer/sampler thing could get it together like these 3 guys can. They even laid down the basic tracks live so they have nowhere to hide. At the risk of being crass and obvious, you gotta have soul to do this kind of music well and Big Wheel & the Spokes do it well but with only 5 tracks, you are certainly left wanting more. Had a good laugh at the EP title as well (but beer had been consumed…).
Review Date: April 29 2008