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Published: 2007/05/23
by Brad Farberman

What Happened To Television? – Greyboy Allstars

Knowledge Room Recordings

The Greyboy Allstars got together to play one gig in 1993. Fourteen years and any number of hiatuses later, the hardest working men in boogaloo are still making it happen.

Here’s how it happened in the first place. DJ Greyboy snagged San Diego stalwarts Karl Denson (saxophones), Robert Walter (keyboards), Elgin Park (guitar), Chris Stillwell (bass) and Zak Najor (drums) for a record release party in 1993. The chemistry was there, and a weekly gig developed at San Diego’s Green Circle Bar. National tours, two trips to Europe, and three records followed. But the Allstars lost steam in 1998, and splintered off into a number of other groups, like Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

The legend of the Allstars only grew in their absence, however, and reunion shows here and there were highly anticipated and warmly received. And it seemed like a cool idea to record a new studio album last year, and release it this year, ten years after the release of their last studio record, 1997’s A Town Called Earth.

So that’s what they did. And I’ll be damned if What Happened To Television?, out now on Knowledge Room Recordings and co-produced by DJ Greyboy himself, isn’t some raw stuff, designed to be good to your earholes.

The album kicks off with the foot-stomp inducing “V Neck Sweater,” propelled by Denson’s dirty sax licks and Park’s Beck-influenced vocals. “Back In The Game” stinks of Walter’s writing (though all the originals are credited to the Allstars as a team), and boasts a nice flute solo from Denson.

“What Happened To Television?” is a vintage Allstars groove and “Left Coast Boogaloo” leans more towards the “acid-jazz” side of things, threatening to tear up a European dance floor near you. “How Glad I Am,” previously recorded by artists like Aretha Franklin and Nancy Wilson, is augmented by female vocal trio The Living Sisters (featuring Inara George), and livens up the mostly-instrumental vibe of Television. Mentor DJ Greyboy appears on “Old School Cylons” and “Give The Drummer Some More.”

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