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Published: 2014/06/17
by Sam Robertson

Mingo Fishtrap
On Time

Blue Corn Music

Having become regulars in the vibrant Austin live music scene, Mingo Fishtrap appear poised for a breakout with their fourth release, On Time. Mingo Fishtrap are an eight-piece funk and soul group, complete with a three-person horn section, but manage to channel their layers of instruments into an impressively lean and cohesive sound in the studio.

The album opens with a quick snap of organ, guitar and percussion, before lead singer Roger Blevins Jr. immediately enters with an “oooh” croon and the first verse over a percussive rhythm. Within the first 2 minutes of opener “End of the World,” it’s clear that even with the revival of soul and funk music in recent years, only a few bands can match the vocal intensity Blevins offers combined with the instrumental prowess of his bandmates. With a catchy horn progression and big chorus, “End of the World” leans closer to the horn-infused rock of Blood, Sweat & Tears than the funkier approach the band takes on the rest of the album.

Joining Roger Blevins Jr. in the band are his father, Roger Blevins Sr. on bass, Dave Farnsworth on keys, Chip Vayenas on drums, Mikel Urdy on percussion, and a horn section with Steve Butts on trumpet, Dan Bechdolt on saxophone and Zol Waterhouse on trombone. The band, and the horns most prominently, flourish on the upbeat funk numbers, with “Sugadoo” particularly strong and crisp. “Too Far Gone” finds keyboardist Dave Farnsworth delivering a blazing synthesizer solo, but even when members solo, the hooking grooves never disappear as Mingo Fishtrap keep things tight with all song clocking in around the four minute mark.

In addition to shining throughout on lead vocals, Roger Blevins Jr. shows off his guitar playing on “Mason Jar,” weaving in and out of buoyantly swinging horns and vocal harmonies with plenty of tasty slide guitar work. His playing leaps to the forefront again on “Things Ain’t What They Was,” as he delivered a stinging solo over a funky swamp boogie. But his voice remains the frequent centerpiece, not only powerful but tenderly expressive, and a perfect fit whether the band chooses hard hitting funk, catchy pop rock, or slow-burning blues.

Comments

There are 2 comments associated with this post

John Pipitone, Sr. June 23, 2014, 13:45:34

Had the opportunity to see four sets of Mingo Fishtrap at the Rochester, New York Jazz Festival. Could not get enough of them and neither could the appreciative crowd at the Festival. Have never seen or heard a more talented group of musicians. Arrangements are superb, excellent solos all around, and an extremely tight horn section. Chip Vayenas on drums brilliantly drives the sound and emotion and never quits! Dave on keys treated us to some sounds and textures we’ve never experienced before. Mikel added much color and texture to the sound, and Roger, Sr. was a rock! And Roger Blevins, Jr. is amazing as a lead singer and leader. What a future this group has!

Andrew June 23, 2014, 14:30:14

It’s actually Dane not Dave. Just thought I would clarify that.

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