Galactic, Ya-Ka-May

Posted on December 28, 2010 by

And at number four…

Artist: Galactic
Title: Ya-Ka-May
Label: Anti 87002
Released: February 9, 2010
Genre: Funk / R&B / New Orleans

Jazz-funk artists Galactic opened the doors to New Orleans musicians, inviting all sub-genres in the Crescent City from hip-hop to bounce to brass bands, to Mardi Gras Indians to classic R&B to funk.

The juxtaposing of the Rebirth Brass Band to Big Freedia, expose some of the roots of New Orleans bounce. So does the inclusion of the hip-hop tracks by Katey Red & Sissy Nobby and the bending of the genres by Josh Cohen & Ryan Scully from the now disbanded Morning 40 Federation. It once again shows that New Orleans is still a musical melting pot. Cohen & Scully’s “Liquor Pang” is a low riding cruise through the streets of alcohol, rationalizing a sense of hopelessness with lines like, “I’m making bad decisions with the money I earned” which rolls into “Ain’t no shame for a pang for some liquor, man.”

“Wild Man” featuring Big Chief Bo Dollis of the Wild Magnolias get some modern sampling treatment with some rock guitar riffs over a funk rhythm. While Allen Toussaint gets some updating, it’s still unmistakingly Allen, which cites what an influence Toussaint was on the New Orleans scene. No matter how you want to fuck with the structure of New Orleans music, give it a dose of Toussaint, and you can’t help but give him a stake in the claim.

But the artist that most benefits form this step forward in New Orleans music is Irma Thomas. Some national award faction should recognize Irma Thomas’ performance on “Heart of Steel.” The conviction in her delivery over the new material shows that she is still a force to be reckoned. Her reading surpasses all others on this album. Even if you don’t care for another melding of music, give Irma’s track a chance. It should be nominated for single of the year.

Paraphrasing the sticker that was pasted on the CD cover, “this ain’t your daddy’s New Orleans music.” Well, in many ways it is. This music would not exist without the contributions of the mothers and fathers of New Orleans R&B, nor would this CD be as successful with their inclusion.

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One Response to “Galactic, Ya-Ka-May”

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