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Published: 2001/08/20
by Pat Buzby

Blackwater – Mofro

Fog City Records 005

This Florida band offers an engaging hour of rural funk with its debut CD.
The band has a news hook in its connection with Robert Walter's 20th
Congress (drummer George Sluppick appears on most cuts, and Walter guests on
two tracks), but they succeed well enough on their own merits.

Sluppick and keyboardist Nathan Shepherd get some tasty, analog textures out
of their instruments, while JJ Grey's vocals, varying from Lowell George-ish
mellowness to some comic James Brown moments, and Daryl Hance's guitar and
dobro sit comfortably on top. There are few heavy moments here, aside from
a couple songs lamenting the passing of youthful good times and others
advising against a belief in Santa Claus, True Love and Freedom and
decrying the urbanization of Florida (which, to demonstrate the
seriousness behind this lyric, gets printed in the booklet).

Instead, the band racks up a series of slow grooves with sweet, langorous
codas as long as the songs themselves (notably on the title cut, about as
successful a song as the Doobie Brothers's similarly-named excursion),
alternating with some faster workouts. Producer Dan Prothero sets the right
ambiance for the entire set – this could have been in a time capsule from
1973.

Not the most complex offering, but if the above sounds like your idea of a
good time don't hesitate to check this out.

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