Marcus Singletary

Aviation, 2007

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Now that Lenny Kravitz seems to have disappeared from the radar -- and if he hasn't, you could have fooled me -- Marcus Singletary has filed his resume for Kravitz's spot.

Should he be hired? On the basis of his Rocks compilation, sure. Like Kravitz, Singletary has an appreciation for funk, rock and blues, and like Kravitz he doesn't have many original thoughts. There is a standard cover of "Sweet Home Chicago" and a harmonica/bass duet called, appropriately, "Delta." Singletary is from Chicago, by the way, so he has some credibility here.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Rocks compiles some of Singletary's early recordings and a handful of 2005 live tunes, but I can't imagine anyone needs more Singletary than this. That said, though, the man puts on a good live show, but on record blues/rock workouts like "Train" were done 40 years ago and much better by the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, and of course the men who wrote the blues, Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf among them. In fact, "Train" sounds uncomfortably close to the Stones' version of "Not Fade Away."

"Super Tuesday" and "Shake Your Body Politic," the other two studio tunes, are interesting curios. Both are of lo-fi garage band quality sound, with the former taking the mood of Zeppelin's "Hats Off To Roy Harper" and adding what sounds like a Casio keyboard and backward cymbals. "Politic" is the kind of song you'd hear at a bar, but it's actually not a bad little funky rock tune; Singletary sounds like a Kravitz clone, but his incendiary solo is miles ahead of Lenny.

The second half of the disc are the live tunes from LA's Foxx club, and are bootleg-quality soundboard recordings. "The Music's Playin'" is kind of soulful and bluesy, and the cover of "Good Lovin'" is decent, but the bad recording sound kind of takes away from the fun if you can't be at the club. A cover of "Mercury Blues" and "Can't Ask For More" close out the disc; only the latter is interesting, mainly because of Singletary's guitar work.

There is no shortage of blues/rock recordings, which means the challenge in 2007 is to find a new and interesting take on the genre. Singletary brings obvious chops and appreciation for what he plays, but until he writes more originals like "Shake Your Body Politic" and relies less on worn-out covers, he'll end up just another Lenny Kravitz, and the world doesn't need that.

Rating: C-

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