Independent record label based in LA. Home to The Black Keys, Two Gallants, Buffalo Killers, Radio Moscow, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Hacienda, John The Conqueror, Brian Olive, Black Diamond Heavies, Left Lane Cruiser, T-Model Ford, Thomas Function, Waves Of Fury, etc. More at www.alivenergy.com
Friday, January 25, 2008
NATHANIEL MAYER - Billboard, Blogcritics, MOKB
Billboard news :
Members of the Black Keys, Dirtbombs, the Sights and Outrageous Cherry have lent their talents to "Why Don't You Give It to Me," the forthcoming effort from soul/blues/rock singer Nathaniel Mayer. Due Aug. 21 via Alive Records, the set comes on the heels of 2004's "I Just Want to Be Held," which was the Detroit-based veteran's first full-length in 40 years.
Mayer first met the Black Keys when the garage duo tapped him as the opening act for their November 2005 tour. Mayer, in turn, recruited Outrageous Cherry guitarist Matthew Smith, Dirtbombs bassist Troy Gregory and the Sights/SSM drummer Dave Shettler as his backing band, occasionally joined by Black Keys guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach.
"People would come up to us after the show and ask, 'How long you guys been playing together?' It was two weeks! We had been rehearsing together for two weeks!" Mayer, 63, tells Billboard.com. "They're a great band, just a real different sound. It was beautiful."
After the dust settled, Mayer re-entered the studio with the same line-up and Auerbach, Smith and Shettler taking turns producing. According to Mayer, the resulting album mixes his love of funk a la James Brown with psychedelic, blues and garage. 'I'm a Lonely Man," the first single from "Why Don't You Give It to Me," is currently available via iTunes.
Most importantly for Mayer, the album serves as a good reason for him to indulge his true love, touring. "I love traveling so much. It makes coming home all the better," he laughs, adding that the band is considering recording a live album along the way. Though Mayer is still planning a tour for next month and then later in the year, he hopes the treks will include one spot that he hasn't visited since 1962: New York's Apollo Theater. Mayer has been performing since the ripe age of 15 and is best known for his 1962 hit "Village of Love," which he sang at the beloved performance hall. - Katie Hasty
Blogcritics review of "Why Don't You Give It To Me?":
My husband and I are long time lovers of the blues, especially the raw Juke Joint sounds of what we call the "Fat Possum" gang — RL Burnside and sons, Nathaniel Mayer, Asie Payton, Paul "Wine" Jones, and Fred McDowell. Always interesting and never safe, these artists define their own musical genres and pull from many different traditions.
Nathaniel Mayer has had an interesting and long career for someone who many folks have just heard of. He recorded for the grittier than Motown Fortune label in the 1960s, singing "Village of Love" (one of his only hits) at the early age of 18. Good raw funky soul music was his calling card.
Since the 60s Mayer has done some studio and back up work, but has built his career on his outrageous raunchy live act. He was rediscovered by Fat Possum in 2003/2004 which saw the release of his highly acclaimed album, I Just Want To Be Held. This was my first introduction to Mayer's howling vocals, raw steaming riffs, and over the top sexuality in such songs as "Stick It or Lick It" and "I Wanna Dance with You".
Now with the Alive Records label, this son of Detroit has recorded what is easily the best album of his career and very possibly one of the best rock/blues/soul/psychedelic albums I've ever heard. Why Don't You Give It To Me? was born after the Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, and Mayer performed together at NYC's Knitting Factory and decided that they should take their scintillating steaming cauldron of music into the recording studio. Recorded in Mayer's hometown of Detroit and produced by Matthew Smith, Dan Auerbach, and Dave Shettler this album is so great, so interesting, and so difficult to categorize.
Mayer opens with the pure funk and his trademark howls in the title song, and then immediately moves the listener out of complacency and into the intense rockabilly inspired "White Dress". He pays homage to his blues roots with the classic sound of "Please Don't Drop the Bomb" and then surprises yet again with the opening jazzy riffs of "Doin' It". The reggae inspired island beat of "Dancing Move" is reminiscent of UB40. It's as though Hendrix, the Stooges, James Brown, RL Burnside, the Stray Cats, and UB40 all came together in a "best of" blend. This is an eclectic mix that works in the hands of this masterful vocalist. - Lynda Lippin
MOKB review :
Using a voice that sounds like it was tuned with a rat-tail file, Mayer delivers with astonishing urgency; as if he has spotted a cuckolded husband with a .38 behind the trap set. It is heartening (and just a little frightening) to hear this veteran lothario howl, scratch and slink through songs of seduction when we would be more comfortable with him complaining about the service at Denny's. Don't think for a moment that this is a novelty record. Aside from being himself a staggering performer, Mayer benefits greatly from a backing band that, forgive me, should scare the reunited Stooges back into retirement. All members can claim superior blues/garage pedigree, but it's enough to say they play like some bad mothers. Don't believe me? Cue up "Doin' It", (any guesses as to what that's about?) which sounds like Booker T & The MG's (circa Otis Redding Live in Monterey) in a streetfight with Hendrix's Band of Gypsies. Find this record immediately and pray Nathaniel Mayer never comes courting your dear old Granny. - My Old Kentucky
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