A few months ago (back here), I wrote about Early, a recent release from Georgia Anne Muldrow, and basically a collection of early studio recordings that illustrated from what point she has developed with her music. Along with a track from that album I posted up King's Ballad, a sneak peak from the upcoming album of the same name that seemed appropriate given its connection to the then recent events. Well, that album is here, I've listened to it, and I'm ready to tell you why you should buy it.
Whereas Early was fairly conventional, straight forward soul music, Kings Ballad continues in the vein of much of Muldrow's work: pushing, widening, deepening, and in all ways expanding what can be expected of the genre. As you travel through the album's fifteen tracks, she makes sure to switch things up without getting gimmicky, offering variety without making too large of a musical leap. Another notable quality of the album; it is entirely handcrafted, with no samples to stitch together the original material.
The album opens with Indeed, a track dedicated to children and their magic. It's a down-tempo track with notes that seem one step shifted from typical, like a Thelonius Monk line, and a bold opener for the album. It closes with the cries of a baby, and then the album moves on into Doobie Down, probably the album's funkiest track hands down, and then onto Simple Advice, which has also got a deep throbbing bass line helping to propel it along.
King's Ballad, the song dedicated to Michael Jackson's memory, comes next, a slow, evocative ellegy, followed by the short instrumental R.I.P..
At this point, the album starts shifting forward in time, into a future-electro-soul world that seems apropos for the release's label, Ubiquity Records, and shouts back to Sa-Ra Creative Partners and the Platinum Pied Pipers, two groups who Muldrow worked with earlier in her career. There are a few appearances by Muldrow's husband, Dudley Perkins, most enjoyably on Summer Love, here in the second part of the album. This second part also takes on a hip hop flavor as well, with strong beats carrying the current.
Moving in to the albums last third, you'll find a few of the most unique tracks including the musical interlude March For Africa (which sounds like a definite throw-back part 2 to Foot Soldiers (Star-Spangled Funky) off of Funkadelic's Uncle Jam Wants You), and then a few tracks later, Room Punk! (which as it's name suggests is a punk song about taking a shower and getting dressed - who would have thunk it). The album comes to a close with Thatch, the most futuristic of the songs here, where one senses there are lasers shooting by and people wearing metallic silver coveralls.
It's hard to get a grasp on this album as a whole with its diverse elements, but it's well worth the time and effort. I've seen a lot about her other project that was just recently released (the album SomeOthaShip which displays Muldrow pairing on an entire album with her husband Perkins, who also goes be the moniker Declaime, as well as a whole slew of guests), this album deserves just as much of your attention.