The Menahan Street Band - Make The Road By Walking

The Menahan Street Band
Make The Road By Walking

Released 2008 on Dunham
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 08/01/2009ce

1. Make The Road By Walking
2. Tired Of Fighting
3. Home Again
4. Montego Sunset
5. Karina
6. The Traitor
7. The Contender
8. Birds
9. Esma
10. Going The Distance

I first heard the title track of this wonderful album a few months back right after hearing The Soul Vibrations classic 45 "The Dump" also in the set were awesome tracks by The Sons Of Slum, Purple Image and the mighty David T. Walker. I just assumed The Menahan Street Band were some lost soul/funk combo from the early 70's, so authentic was their sound. So I was surprised to say the least that the group is a contemporary, functioning band and their album was released in 2008. "Make The Road By Walking" has been released on a 7" 45 and it is just a stone classic! great wah-wah guitar and a brilliant horn section just drive this thing home in a way that you can't get it out of your head.

I hear all kinds of influences in the group's magical sound: The Meters, Young-Holt Unlimited, The Politicians, The Electric Flag, Herbie Mann, Charles Lloyd, Sly & The Family Stone, The Sons Of Champlin, Cliff Nobles, Hugh Masakela and on and on. I ordered their album straight away and I was just floored when I heard the group's whole set. Just amazing, one classic after another. Let me just say that there is not a bum track in the whole set but the high points for me are "Tired Of Fighting", "The Contender", "Birds" and "Karina."

What are The Menahan Street Band? They are parts rock, soul and jazz and oddly enough at times they remind me a little of Quicksilver Messenger Service during their "What About Me"/"Comin' Thru" era. What is really remarkable is the group's memorable songwriting skills, if you close your eyes you can almost imagine yourself at the Fillmore West in 1967 hearing this group playing on the same bill as Charles Lloyd or The Sons Of Champlin. The Menahan Street Band's sound is so positive and uplifting, you will just get addicted to it, and while the group does conjure up memories of yesteryear they also sound contemporary. The group hails from Brooklyn, New York and I for one will have my eyes trained on their every move from now on! This is my album of the year for 2008.

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