Rhythm & Views

Jump Back Jake

How do white guys playing soulful, bluesy R&B and rock avoid sounding like a hack bar band? Well, coming from Memphis, recording at the legendary Ardent Studios, and scoring the debut record on the recently reconstituted Ardent Records is a great place to start.

New York-to-Memphis transplant Jake Rabinbach and his fellow travelers in Jump Back Jake bring that little extra something to Brooklyn Hustle/Memphis Muscle, separating the original from the mundane. And they've got the songs ...

Sounding more than a little like the Iguanas, Jump Back Jake have a sleek, well-oiled groove that allows them stylistic breadth while still maintaining a signature sound. They can be wry and soulful ("Terrible Mistakes"), smoldering and soulful ("The Flood"), dial it way down for the country ballad ("Tennessee Maybe") and bring it back up for a R&B horn blower ("Samson").

On the sly, chunky/funky "Easy Answers," they show their way around a deft turn of phrase: "Leaning to the left going around the curve / You're going to get what you deserve." It may or may not be meaningful, but it sure goes down nicely. And "Billy get off of that cocaine / It's holding you back / Besides, you know that shit will kill you / It's a fact," from "Too Cool for Love," lays out a whole story in a few lines. Horn players Paul Morelli and Nahshon Benford provide invaluable color and punch throughout.

Jump Back Jake may not have reinvented white-boy Southern soul and R&B, but they are moving it into the future.

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