Kings Go Forth - The Outsiders Are Back

The key to a badass soul record is to convince your audience you can sound like you're grooving right there, live in the living room speakers. Kings Go Forth, a rag-tag infusion of old and young players from Milwaukee, achieve just this. Not without a leaf taken from Curtis Mayfield's hymn book, however. Even so they stick to the letter with an authentic free-spirit which translates into raw, urgent soul that is both danceable and emotional.

KGF co-founder and bassist Andy Noble has run a thriving rare record store in Milwaukee since the 70s. There, in 2004, he met Black Wolf, a long time local R&B performer who played with The Essentials and recorded at Curtis Mayfield's legendary Curtom studios. The line up is completed by musicians, some of whom are barely out of college, who have a pure passion for stirring up vintage soul circa the 1960s.

The Outsiders are Back kicks off with 'One Day', a modern cut of Mayfield's eternally quoted classic 'Move on Up.' Driven by rolling percussion, drifting chords, and honeyed gospel vocals, the two tracks are virtually identical, sax phrases and drum breakdown and all.

'You're the One' sounds like a Motown classic, complete with elated horns, falsetto screams, bustling drums and solid bass grooves. 'Fight with Love' follows on a sombre note, imbued with the pains of falling out of love. 'High on Your Love,' however, is far more optimistic, lifting the spirits with an almost reggae groove. It is built on a chugging bass line and sky-high backing vocals.

While the album simulates accurately the spirit of 70s soul, the tracks do get samey. It is a breath of fresh air to hear music of this calibre played for modern time, but one can't help feel that it is more invigorating to dust off and spin the originals instead.

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