Lemonade

G. Love

Brushfire, 2006

http://philadelphonic.com

REVIEW BY: Shane M. Liebler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/10/2006

The last time I reviewed a G. Love album was at the height of my obsession with the Special Sauce. I gave the band’s 2001 release, The Electric Mile, four stars. That’s about a B+ on the DV scale.

Oops.

Well, the album wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t groundbreaking. It was pretty much standard post-1997 G sound and, in retrospect, I think others were right to treat it less enthusiastically.

But, G still holds a special place in my heart. For a time I thought if I ever learned how to properly operate my guitar, I’d sound like G.

We share the same affinity for BBQ, blues, beverages (alcoholic and otherwise), fishing, sideburns and other assorted summertime props. We both spent some time on the back of a trash truck. I like Philly cheese steak.

Those familiar with G’s 10-odd-year legacy and unique hip-hop blues stylings will consider G. Love’s my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Lemonade a return to form.

My favorite G is the one I saw perform in a Toledo pub with no more than 100 other people, the guy that rocked the Majestic in Detroit as I enjoyed an extremely illegal Rolling Rock (I was 17), the dude that serenaded me and my Albany-area college friends at some bar in an upstate strip-mall.

I loved G for his sass, somewhat gritty production and frank depiction of chillin’ (front porch and otherwise). Thanks to Lemonade, I still do. The production is sleeker, but not as tight as the embarrassingly streamlined Hustle, his 2004 LP and first without the Special Sauce tag.

G goes straight for the fun on Lemonade with opening cuts “Ride,” “Ain’t That Right,” and lead single “Hot Cookin’,” which feature his patented groove that flows like a handful of ice cubes dissolving in your mojito.

Ditto on the upbeat lament of “Missing My Baby,” which adds tasty fiddle flourishes and organ to the mix. The harp (harmonica) makes a welcome comeback on “Thanks And Praise,” which reminds me of the to-my-younger-ears radical blues-rap infusion “This Ain’t Livin’” from Special Sauce’s 1994 debut.

Also nostalgia-worthy is “Breakin’ Up,” a carefully strummed, lo-fidelity heartache that recalls the darker acoustics that first captured me on tracks like “I Love You Too” from a rare promo EP and “Pull The Wool” from his still-best Yeah, It’s That Easy.

Sexy surfer/singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman gives the duet “Beautiful” some hit-making potential, while “Still Hangin’ Around” keeps with G’s long-running tradition of closing albums with sappy “I love you” solo blues ditties, a nice touch. But, negative points for “Holla,” which reminds me too much of Hustle’s most egregiously mind-numbing track, “Booty Call.”

G’s aforementioned shows have always been the main reason I’ll shell over $20 to see a performance (my first was $10 + Ticketmaster’s bullshit “convenience fee”), but Lemonade leaves me anxious as ever to lounge with my front porch hero. The only true disappointment is that this wasn’t released May 31, my unofficial kickoff to summer, as opposed to now in the season’s twilight.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2006 Shane M. Liebler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Brushfire, and is used for informational purposes only.